Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers explains Mario Balotelli’s absence

Brendan Rodgers reveals Mario Balotelli is suffering from a groin problem

Brendan Rodgers revealed that Mario Balotelli has a niggling groin injury after the Liverpool striker missed the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

The 24-year-old Italian returned from international duty before the Azzurri’s 1-1 draw with Croatia on Sunday after he picked up the slight knock.

Raheem’s confidence is not quite as high and the intensity not quite as high

Brendan Rodgers

And Liverpool manager Rodgers explained that Balotelli will be assessed in the coming days ahead of their trip to Ludogorets in the Champions League.

“Mario came back from the Italy squad and it was still sore [groin] – we will assess that over the next few days,” Rodgers told BBC Sport.

Dwight Gayle cancelled out Rickie Lambert’s early opener at Selhurst Park before Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak wrapped up a 3-1 win for Palace in the final 12 minutes.

And Rodgers defended Raheem Sterling’s form after the England international failed to have a telling impact on the south-east London clash.

“He’s played a lot of games. There is a lot of pressure on the young player. He’s not an unknown and is a marked player,” Rodgers continued.

“Raheem’s confidence is not quite as high and the intensity not quite as high. He’s an outstanding talent – he’s going to have little spells like that.”

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