Mario Balotelli was very much a player who divided opinion when he signed for Liverpool in the summer for around £16 million. Think Football regularly questioned his ability before his move to Anfield, as a result of his wasteful play and poor attitude. Regardless, many claimed that Balotelli had the potential to be a world class player and would bring a new dimension to Liverpool in the absence of Luis Suarez. Balotelli though is now being routinely lambasted by Liverpool fans and is yet to find the net in the Premier League. How bad is he?
Games (Minutes)GoalsConversionShots per gameBalotelli7 (514)00%4.6Sakho7 (557)626%3.3Pelle9 (799)615%4.6Berahino9 (808)733%3
Mario Balotelli has not scored a goal in the Premier League despite his high profile and relatively high transfer fee. If we compare him to three other forwards who have been scoring well this season and are not so high profile we can see how bad Balotelli has been. The main thing that sticks out is how utterly wasteful he is. Only 43% of his shots have been on target and generally speaking he takes a hit-and-hope approach to goal scoring. Even last year at AC Milan when he scored 14 goals he only converted 13% of his chances, a very low rate for a ‘top’ striker.
Balotelli, tied with Graziano Pelle has had the second most shots per game in the Premier League this season. Pelle hasn’t been that clinical, but he has been far more clinical than Balotelli who right now doesn’t look like he’ll score any time soon. Balotelli just doesn’t look dangerous. Even Diafra Sakho at West Ham, who again wasn’t a high profile purchase, is far outscoring Balotelli and looks much more dangerous.
Against Hull City he had one effort that was saved and another that was blocked. He wasn’t even threatening the opposition goal. He was essentially a passenger for 90 minutes, which with Liverpool languishing on 14 points, they cannot afford. Balotelli also committed five fouls and was booked in this tie. Unfortunately he doesn’t look like he’ll turn it around any time soon. 514 minutes and 32 shots without a goal is pretty dismal reading by anyone’s estimations. Liverpool need to get Daniel Sturridge fully fit again as it’s clear that he is the man Brendan Rodgers wants to lead the line and build his attack around. Rickie Lambert doesn’t look much better than Balotelli and doesn’t look very fit (in fact his signing now seems a bit odd). The fact Lambert can’t dethrone Balotelli shows how he is not at the required standard. Regardless, Balotelli has had a very bad start to life in the Premier League.