Rodgers: Liverpool not the 'The Mario Balotelli Show'

The Northern Irishman expressed his delight the attitude of the Italy international, who has impressed in training, but emphasised that he is just one of many players at the club

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists Mario Balotelli will not take centre-stage ahead of other players at the club.

The 24-year-old became the club’s ninth summer signing after penning a three-year deal at Anfield on Monday, filling a void by the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

But after being the focus of much attention at the club’s training ground on Friday, and having dominated the headlines at previous clubs, Rodgers was adamant that his side will not be a one-man show and warned the Italian that he will need to be “part of a team”.

“I don’t just think they were trying to see just him,” he told reporters when asked about fans sneaking a glimpse of Balotelli at the club’s training base. “He’s a good player, a talented player, but he’s got a lot of work to do here.

“We have got a number of top-class players here and the star of this team will always be the team, so I don’t think they were climbing on the bins just to see him.

“This isn’t The Mario Balotelli Show, I’ll tell you that now. This will be about him being part of the team and performing like everyone else.”

Balotelli was a controversial figure in England during his tenure at Manchester City after hitting the headlines for his erratic behaviour off the pitch, yet Rodgers – who is set to play him against Tottenham on Sunday – feels the striker has since matured.

“It will be a different story here,” he insisted. “Conditions are different at Liverpool. You have to behave yourself in a certain way. Simple.

“We have already got somewhere here for him, he’s sorted. That’s key for us. He’s a Liverpool player, not a Manchester player, so he will be here.

“I have spoken at length to Mario since he has been here. He is definitely a mature boy. He is very, very bright. He now feels that it is time to show the type of player he is.

“Everyone knows his quality and we have seen it this week in training. We have seen the sheer power and pace and the touch that he has. He wants to score goals and he wants to do it consistently.

“That is why we are making sure we focus on his football.”

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