Balotelli must improve in training, says Liverpool manager Rodgers

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has told striker Mario Balotelli that he must improve in training after he was left out of the match day squad for Saturday’s FA Cup goalless draw with Bolton Wanderers, BBC Sport has reported.

The Italian has struggled throughout much of his time at Liverpool since joining from Milan in August for a fee of £16m, earning criticism for his performances and only managing to score two goals, neither of which have come in the Premier League.

He has recently struggled with a hamstring injury, but returned to training ahead of the visit of the Trotters, where Rodgers opted not to field a recognised striker from the start although Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert were both available from the bench.

And with Daniel Sturridge set to return to action, Balotelli’s chances may become more limited, although Rodgers has simply urged him to raise his level in training. “I am judging it every day in training – Mario is exactly the same as every other player, there is no special treatment for anyone,” said the Northern Irishman.

“If you want to contribute you have to be at it every single day in training in order to be in the squad on match day. It is difficult for him [Balotelli] but he knows the level of [where] this team is at – you see the aggression in our pressing and if you can’t do that you are not going to be a part of what this team is trying to achieve.

“We had an hour or so yesterday chatting and he understands where he is at.”

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