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'Leave or play juniors' - Brendan Rodgers tells Mario Balotelli

The Italian “knows his situation”, Brendan Rodgers has said – and he faces a decision.

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli and manager Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli and manager Brendan Rodgers.

IF MARIO BALOTELLI wants to play senior football this season then he must find another club, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says.

Balotelli – along with Fabio Borini and Jose Enrique – has been told he is surplus to requirements at Anfield and Rodgers has insisted he will not change his mind after the controversial Italian striker’s poor first season in the Premier League.

The unwanted trio of players have been told to train with Liverpool’s youth team, prompting Jose Enrique to claim last week that Rodgers has “alienated” them.

But Rodgers shifted the blame right back on the players on Sunday, arguing Liverpool will not stand in the way of a transfer.

“He [Balotelli] clearly knows his situation and where he’s at,” Rodgers said.

“There’s nothing to add. All of the players understand where they’re at.

“My job is to create the best possible environment for the team to succeed. That’s what I’ve always done. So I’m not going to speak about Mario when I can speak about another 25 players.”

Balotelli scored just one goal in 16 Premier League appearances last term, Enrique only played four matches, while Borini has effectively been irrelevant at Anfield since he arrived for the 2012-13 season.

Borini has been linked with another loan stint at Sunderland, where he spent the 2013-14 campaign, while West Brom are reportedly interested in Jose Enrique.

Sampdoria have been the most vocal suitors for Balotelli, although the Serie A club have indicated they are put off by the 25-year-old forward’s price tag.

But Rodgers reckons a transfer will simply come down to what Balotelli wants to do.

“I’ll always treat individuals with respect and try to make sure they understand the situation, where they’re at – it’s then their choice,” the Northern Irishman said.

“If the manager and the club give a player a situation, if they really want to play, I’m sure they’ll find a solution. If they don’t, then at least they know where they stand.”

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