Balotelli will not be leaving Liverpool in January, says Rodgers

The Reds boss says the Italy international will stay at Anfield and has revealed that fellow striker Daniel Sturridge is closing in on a return to first-team action

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says striker Mario Balotelli will not be leaving the club in January despite speculation surrounding his future.

The Italy international has been linked with a move away from the club after struggling to make an impact following his €20 million summer move from AC Milan.

Balotelli has yet to score in the Premier League for the Reds but Rodgers says he will not be allowed to leave Anfield this month.

“Mario is a good guy,” he told reporters. “He hasn’t scored as many goals as he would have liked, but we are determined to help him find a solution here. He won’t be going anywhere in January.”

The Reds boss also responded to Inter head coach Roberto Mancini, who claimed the Italy international is currently “wasting everything”.

“Roberto knows him very well,” he added. “I think he said if you work with Mario you should be paid double, I agree with that. I will mention that to the owners!”

Liverpool take on Aston Villa on Saturday with Rodgers set to welcome Raheem Sterling back into the squad following a mini mid-season break, though Daniel Sturridge has not yet reached full fitness despite returning to training.

“Raheem is back in the squad,” he said. “He is refreshed and ready to work. Glen Johnson has been back training and we will see how he is.

“We are monitoring the likes of Steven Gerrard and Adam Lallana. Daniel Sturridge is back and working well, obviously he is not ready to play yet.

“Time will tell when he is back. We just want him fit. There is no timeline on that as such. He is back in his final stages of his rehabilitation.

“Joe Allen should be back training with the group in the next few days.”

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