Sturridge’s return has no impact on Balotelli, says Liverpool manager
Brendan Rodgers rubbishes talk of Daniel Sturridge’s return from injury could help Mario Balotelli
Brendan Rodgers has rubbished the suggestion that Daniel Sturridge’s return from injury could help get the best out of Mario Balotelli.
The Italy international made his debut alongside the Liverpool striker as the Reds were 3-0 winners at Tottenham Hotspur in August.
However, Sturridge hasn’t featured since the White Hart Lane win, whilst Balotelli has struggled to kick on following his promising Reds bow.
The England striker is on the brink of a return to the Liverpool first-team following a string of calf and thigh problems over the past five months.
But Rodgers played down the positive impact Sturridge’s return could have on misfiring Balotelli.
“It doesn’t matter what Daniel does coming back. It is irrelevant,” Rodgers told his media conference ahead of the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Chelsea on Tuesday night.
“It showed in the Tottenham game that they played well together, but Daniel coming back helps the squad – and that’s everyone.”
The Liverpool manager did add that Balotelli has a future at the Merseyside club despite reports suggesting a return to Serie A could be imminent.
Rodgers added: “We will give Mario every chance. We brought him in here for this season to give him every chance to show consistently that he can play at a team consistently at the top level.
“It has been a difficult period for him – no doubt – but he is a good boy who does want to fight for his opportunity and chance here.
“I have seen some clippings this morning (saying) that that is him over with – but that’s not the case at all.
“I think (we) have shown here a number of times with players that have been out of the fold, for various reasons, that if they work hard in training, show the intensity and show the focus then they have every chance of getting back in the team – and not only getting back in it but staying in it.
“The opportunity is there for Mario, and for every player – not just him.”