Liverpool have signed some pretty awful strikers in the past.
We all remember Andy Carroll and what a flop he was, especially after the club paid £35m for his services. Then there was Andriy Voronin, does anybody remember him? Point made.
Liverpool currently have two exiled strikers at the club, who are earning their money off the pitch. Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini were both excluded from Liverpool’s squad for their opening fixture against Stoke City last weekend. The duo, along with full-back Jose Enrique, have been frozen out from training with the first team.
Whether Enrique is actually disappointed isn’t hard to work out, given his Instagram account suggests he has far too much fun playing mini golf on a school day. Balotelli goes out of his way to cause trouble and should probably delete his Twitter account altogether.
The maverick forward is reportedly trying to ensure he remains at the club until this transfer window is over, to ensure his six figure loyalty bonus payout – look up irony in the dictionary and you will see Balo in his Liverpool shirt. Meanwhile, poor old Borini pledged to fight his way back into the team and has failed. Massively.
With rumours of Borini and Balotelli both heading back to Italy and Enrique running down his contract, the trio have officially been left out of Brendan Rodgers’ plans at Liverpool.
But where did they all go wrong?
Since signing in 2012, Fabio Borini has managed to notch up just 38 appearances and has only ever scored for Liverpool on three occasions. When Rodgers signed the 24 year-old, he envisaged investing in a young goalscorer, but instead, found him to be a disappointment.
Most of his games came in his first season, but when last season’s signings, Balotelli and Lambert, failed to take up the mantle up front, Borini was called upon. He too failed, leaving Liverpool with no strikers to call upon.
Borini was known in his early career as a player who would fight for the ball, work for the team and showcase good technical ability. The main problem with his time at Liverpool was that he didn’t really show any of that. In fact, off the pitch, he spoke more enthusiastically about his will to fight for a place in the team than he did running on the pitch.
Often the striker looked lost and confused. He also forgot what his job was – to score goals. All-in-all, he’s not had the best of times and his days with Sunderland on loan were probably the most successful period of his career.
Roma could be his next stop, although rumours of a return to Sunderland could also be a possibility. One thing is for sure, he no longer has a future at Liverpool.
Why always me?
It is always Balotelli. The Italian loves a bit of attention and he loves to get in trouble. But what he probably doesn’t like is being criticised, humiliated and shoved aside. For the most part of his time at Anfield, that’s the treatment he’s received.
Rodgers was clearly not a fan of the intimidating striker, and never really looked eager to take on the task of being his baby-sitter. He openly criticised the striker on various occasions last season after several poor performances.
To make matters worse, even when Mario did score, it was only because he stole a spot kick from Jordan Henderson and ignored the boss’ orders.
Whether this treatment of him is deserved or not is a different ball game. It’s clear that Balotelli likes to ruffle some feathers, and he’d be disappointed if he wasn’t making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, but Rodgers never intended to treat the striker with affection.
The kind of behaviour that’s been shown was present during Balotelli’s time at Manchester City, but the difference with his Liverpool career is that he’s not actually played any good football.
And as a footballer, that’s kind of the important bit.
No way Jose
Jose Enrique admitted yesterday he still wanted to fight for a place at Liverpool, after stating their only current left-back was Alberto Moreno.
The only problem is that Moreno isn’t making the first team either, after the arrival of youngster Joe Gomez, who impressed on his debut and during pre-season. So where Enrique is hoping to fit in is a bit of a mystery.
The full-back enjoyed some good moments at Liverpool earlier in his career and has totalled up 96 appearances for the club. However, after only making 18 appearances in all competitions in the last two seasons, it’s clear Enrique no longer has a place at the club.
He never really did anything wrong, other than the pretty problematic issue of not being any good. He did his job during the first two seasons, but never impressed and the fans were never attracted to the Spaniard.
Since falling out of favour, he’s posted more Instagram pictures online than the number of times he’s been seen in a red shirt.
His alienation may be a little unfair, and like Borini, his only crime was not being up to par.
Mario’s only got himself to blame, Borini should have joined Sunderland when he had the chance and Enrique needs to keep his private life, private.