The Balotelli Experiment is Over.
The Balotelli experiment is over or at least we hope. Now let's make it clear. I am not calling for his head nor am I trying to sell him in January. The experiment of playing one striker up top should be over. It does not work with this group of players.
Balotelli has been given chance after chance to change and adapt to a striker that is willing to run in behind the back four, or be dragged out wide to allow others to push up. The latter was seen in the Real Madrid game, where we saw a tactical change of Balotelli being on the right wing for ten minutes. The problem with that though was when he was looking to cross, which he did do pretty well, no one was there to meet the ball. Although it may surprise many of you Balotelli had the second best Squawka rating behind Coutinho in the first half. So being taken off at half time was purely tactical as Brendan Rodgers suggested. With that being said to only stat that matters is the goals column. 1 goal after all these matches with few and far between chances proves to me that this system with Balotelli does not work.
Let's be clear Balotelli is a contribution to why we are not winning. He is not the reason why we are leaking goals and losing important games. It is unfair and reckless to heap the blame on a new striker, playing out of position. Many fans are getting on his back about his attitude towards the game and how he projects his emotions on the field. Fair points in my opinion. But we all knew he could be like this when he signed. He was and is a risk.
My solution to the problem is to allow Borini and Lambert time over the next couple of matches to develop a partnership. The next couple of matches we play are Hull, Swansea and Newcastle. Perfect games with the right about of pressure to win combined with confidence that we should win these games, to form a winning combination. My hope is that Borini will run in behind defences and Lambert would be a target man for crosses. Both aspects that Liverpool's toothless attack is lacking. Too often does the ball get moved forward to be greeted by the disappointment of no one running into space. Let alone the sense of regret wide players and full backs must feel after looking up and crossing to no one in the box. Only 2 out of 22 crosses actually found red shirts during the Champion League game against Real Madrid at Anfield. We can look at our squad full of play makers, but all too often this season we are lacking players in advance roles to make plays for.
Balotelli and Lambert cannot play at the same time. They both occupy the same area on the pitch and do the same job. Balotelli has called out for a partner and Lambert needs one too. Borini is all we have to partner either of them. Sterling could fill that role but at times he can get lost in the trees that are centre backs when crosses come in to the box. We saw that in full effect during the Real Madrid game. When Liverpool constantly went wide with no one of stature to whip a cross into.
With two strikers up front it will allow Liverpool to play in the diamond midfield giving rest to Gerrard Sterling and Skrtel. With Can Allen Lucas and Toure all coming into the team more. Einstein explained insanity as doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. It would be insane to play Balotelli up front alone again.