Brendan Rodgers warns Mario Balotelli over Liverpool spot

Brendan Rodgers says that Mario Balotelli will have to earn his Liverpool spot on merit

Brendan Rodgers has warned Mario Balotelli that he must earn back his place in the Liverpool first-team on merit.

The striker has not featured for the Reds since 10 January due to illness but is now understood to be available for selection once again.

The Italy international has struggled to find consistent form for Liverpool since joining the Merseyside club from AC Milan in a £16m deal last summer.

He is yet to find the net in the Premier League despite making 12 appearances in the top flight this term.

And Rodgers has told Balotelli that only hard work will guarantee him a place in the Reds’ starting line-up.

“I am judging it every day in training – Mario is exactly the same as every other player, there is no special treatment for anyone.

“Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert are working tirelessly in training and when they go on they have contributed and young Jordan Rossiter, on the bench today, has been brilliant in training and I have to judge it on that.

“If you want to contribute you have to be at it every single day in training in order to be in the squad on matchday.”

Balotelli did not feature as Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday evening.

The controversial forward has even been linked with a return to Serie A in the current transfer window.

MORE: Read the latest Liverpool player tweets

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