Another weekend meant another failure to find the net for Mario Balotelli, for whom life is getting a little too predictable of late.
The blank he and his compadres contrived to draw at Newcastle last time out was the eighth consecutive Premier League match in which the enigmatic Italian’s name was absent from the scoresheet.
Peter Crouch experienced similar frustrations upon signing for the Reds in a mega money deal, going 11 games before celebrating his first league strike.
Balotelli is now just two games shy of matching the beanpole frontman, prompting the odds moguls at bwin.com to price up when the ex-AC Milan man will unload his blunderbuss on this particular duck.
Forthcoming foes Chelsea are the 2/1 favourites to relieve the 24-year-old of the burden.
Next opponents Crystal Palace are at 3’s, while it’s 4/1 that his first Liverpool goal comes versus Crouch’s current club Stoke, in a game where Balotelli could actually surpass the 33-year-old’s scoreless streak.
His track record against these opponents from his Manchester City days suggests this could very well be the case.
In two Citizens starts and as many substitute appearances against the Blues, Balotelli bagged just once, while he never had cause for personal celebrations in three starts and one outing from the bench when tackling the Potters’ backline.
With Brendan Rodgers refusing to remove him from the first team picture, despite substandard form, there’s every chance Stoke’s visit to Anfield will be his 12th in Liverpool colours.
A combination of his own foul form and track record against those he’s up against next means punters would be best served looking at 7/2-rated Leicester and beyond in this market.
Those who think there’s no hope for Mario can back him at 8/1 not to rustle a single Premier League net this term.