Mario Balotelli finally ended his goal drought last night, after the Italian striker scored the equalising goal against Swansea City in the Capital One Cup tie at Anfield.
The pressure was slowly mounting on his shoulders. The expectations are always high at Liverpool, but when you’re replacing a world class player like Luis Suarez, you unknowingly embrace an unforeseen pressure on your shoulders.
Balotelli’s recent performances were not up to the mark. He missed several easy chances to score against QPR and Hull City, as a result he was heavily criticised in the media. His attitude was questioned, while there were suggestions that Liverpool have signed a wrong player and that Brendan Rodgers might sell him in the January transfer window.
Daily Mirror’s Martin Lipton claimed Serie A giants Napoli are looking to bring Balotelli back to Italy with a £10m move when the transfer window re-opens in January.
The Italian media are somewhat taking this report seriously and they feel Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola must be plotting a move for his client in January. Sportmediaset journalist Paolo Bargiggia, an expert in transfer market analysis, notes that Napoli could be ready to land Balotelli, if Liverpool show interest in a cash plus swap deal for Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain who is valued around £35m.
Higuain has struggled a bit in Naples since his big money move from Real Madrid last summer. Last season he scored 24 goals, bit this season he has struggled to find the net consistently. Like Balotelli he was also under intense pressure having scored only one goal in the past seven games but, he has hinted of returning back to old form in the last match after scoring a hat-trick in Napoli’s 6-2 win over Verona.
There is hardly any concrete truth behind such rumours. A player can go through a bad patch or take time to settle into a new club but that hardly indicates the club is prepared to sell him within six months of signing. Balotelli expressed his relief after getting his name on the scoresheet last night and the Italian will be looking to kickstart his Liverpool career from here on.