Rick Lambert To Start, Balotelli Dropped

Rick Lambert will get the nod over Mario Balloteli in this weekend’s clash against West Bromwich Albion. As the Anfield based club look to secure their first Premier League victory since August 31, manager Brendan Rogers will be looking beyond the tough Italian. Mario who joined Liverpool from AC Millan this summer for £16m has faced huge criticisms having only managed a single goal despite starting 5 of the Club’s last 6 games.  Rick Lambert on the other hand hasn’t gotten on the score sheet since his arrival from Southampton, but is been cut some slack has he hasn’t really had game chances per say. Liverpool have thus become a ghost of their last season’s form with so many ephemeral performances.

Since Luis Suarez’s departure to Spain, Brendan Rogers had warned the fans that the worst is yet to pass as the club will likely labour for a while before rediscovering the winning mentality that saw them regain a position within England’s Champions League clique. The absence of Danny Sturridge, Suarez’s striking partner due to injury has seen Liverpool cast all their eggs into Balotelli’s basket and have been left wondering if Brendan Rogers’s calculated risk on the Italian will ever payoff.

In the last 15 months, the fine combination that was forged between, Englishman Danny Sturridgeand his Uruguayan counterpart Suarez had rejuvenated Liverpool giving them a more dynamic approach to games. Their partnership was so functional that in the early stages of last season’s league, the duo had between them more goals than the entire Manchester United team.

Obviously, losing the ever resourceful play maker Luis Suarez battered the team, but it was the Club’s ill-informed transfer strategy that has brought this pending woe. The Club had agreed to a mega deal with Barcelona for the Uruguayan with the assumption that with the £70m price tag, they may be able to cart away Alexis Sanchez to try and fill the void created by the controversial striker. However with Arsenal beating them to Sanchez’s services, Rogers was left blanked having already agreed to another deal that will see Belgium forward DivorkOrigi move back on loan to Lille despite paying a whopping £9m to acquire him.With the transfer deadline drawing close, Rogers turned to Balotelli and Samuel Eto’o and eventually settled for the Italian.

To be fair to Mario, Liverpool’s activities in the final third has not been encouraging saying the least and despite many pundits requiring him to play in deeper to force the ball forward, we must consider that the absence of midfielders Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson is also contributing to the team’s draw back.  Between January and April when Liverpool took 37 points from a possible 39 last season, both midfielders had between them about 8 starts where they formed an interlocking block in the heart of the midfield. In a sharp contrast, although Marco Streller’s goal in Liverpool’s recent Champions League loss came from a set piece, the Swiss club still had plenty of space into operate within the midfield.

Hopefully, when Lambert starts today, he may show a better understanding of the team structure and help Liverpool to a resounding victory but that will not indicate that Mario Ballotelli is a financial liability.

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