As shirt-swapgate rages on, the experts have their knives out for out-of-sorts Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
The controversy magnet former Manchester City man was withdrew from the Reds side at the halfway stage of their Champions League schooling from Real Madrid after he was pictured exchanging jerseys with opposition defender Pepe.
In response to a move that has sparked fury amongst the legions of former Anfield favourites that grace our small screens, Kop hero Jamie Carragher has said he expects to see the Italian sold before the start of next season, telling Sky Sports:
“Do I think he’s going to be here long term? No. I’d be surprised to see him here next season if I’m being honest. These players, who are continually moved on, it’s for a reason.”
Whether Carra waded in on bwin’s 29/100 that he’ll be off Liverpool’s books before the curtain is hoisted on the 2015/16 campaign remains unknown, but it certainly paints a clear picture that the bookies share this view.
For those who believe Super Mario will salvage his Reds career and remain at the club beyond the early-August deadline in question can get paid out at 5/2, but at this stage it doesn’t look good for the 24-year-old.
Another languid effort in a game where intensity was paramount resulted in Balotelli failing to score once again.
His late goal against Ludogorets remains the only time he’s rustled the net in Liverpool colours since his £16m switch from AC Milan as it becomes increasingly clear he has neither the ability or mentality to replace last season’s 31-goal superstar Luis Suarez.
After Adam Lallana took his place in attack against Real, prompting Raheem Sterling to be shunted up into the football hipster’s favourite ‘false nine’ role, the Reds instantly looked more vibrant and capable of causing problems to Los Blancos’ largely untroubled defence.
Based on this evidence, few would debate that Brendan Rodgers’ side are better off without Balotelli on the pitch at the moment.
Then when Daniel Sturridge recovers from injury he’ll fall further out of favour.
Frequent benching is sure to bring out the disharmonious best out in a man infamous for his off-field behaviour and attitude problems, so the club may well have no choice but to sever ties in the summer.