Liverpool striker Balotelli picks up hamstring injury

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been sent home from the Italian national team setup after sustaining a hamstring injury in training, BBC Sport has reported.

The 24-year-old was expected to play a part in Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia, a game where both sides will be looking to extend perfect starts to their respective Group H campaigns, but he now misses out on the chance to play under recently appointed Italy boss Antonio Conte for the first time.

The problem could mean that Balotelli is a doubt for Liverpool’s next Premier League game away to Crystal Palace on November 23, but the Reds could be spared a striker shortage by the return of Daniel Sturridge, who has recently resumed full training following hamstring and calf injuries which began on international duty with England in early September.

Balotelli, who will also miss Italy’s friendly with Albania on Tuesday, has failed to hit the back of the net in the Premier League since joining Liverpool from Milan in the final week of the summer transfer window. His only goals in two and-a-half months have come against Ludogorets in the Champions League and Swansea City in the Capital One Cup.

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