Liverpool travel to Sofia to play Ludogorets on Wednesday night, where a victory will put them in a better position to qualify for the knock out rounds of the Champions League.
The Reds manager however will be without striker Mario Balotelli for this game. According to David Maddock of The Mirror the Italian striker hasn’t travelled with the rest of the squad, which means Rickie Lambert will once spearhead the Reds’ attacking line-up after scoring in the 3-1 defeat against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Liverpool are third in the Group B table with three points and although mathematically they can still progress even if they lose tomorrow, but a fifth consecutive defeat could prove to be a fatal blow for Rodgers’ men, as it will deepen the crisis that has gripped the club.
Balotelli has failed to make any sort of bright impression since his summer transfer from AC Milan, having netted only two goals for the club, one of them being against Ludogorets at Anfield earlier this season.
Meanwhile, there are all sorts of rumour hovering in the market about Balotelli’s future, with Italian media especially speculating that the striker could move to any top Italian club on loan in January.
The 24-year-old has been linked with a return to his former club Inter Milan (Roberto Mancini link) but his agent Mino Raiola has made it absolutely clear that Balotelli is not going anywhere in January.
“Mario will not return to Serie A,” said Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola as quoted by Sky Sports. “Him (Balotelli) to Inter? It’s impossible, not because Mancini has returned but for other reasons that I don’t wish to get into.”
Balotelli hasn’t played in Italy since the World Cup in Brazil. He was called up by Italy boss Antonio Conte for recent European Qualifier against Croatia and a friendly against Albania, but the Liverpool striker missed out with a hamstring and groin problems.
At this moment it is highly unlikely that Balotelli will leave the club in January. He has a contract till 2017 but at the same time he needs to perform to retain the faith of the Liverpool manager.