Mario Balotelli is a lost cause you woud have been forgiven for forgetting that Mario Balotelli was still a Liverpool player, such has been his lack of any meaningful impact at the club since the turn of the year. But Brendan Rodgers gave him a chance to show Liverpool fans – and, perhaps more importantly, potential summer suitors – that he still has the drive and desire to make an impact at the highest level, Sadly, this was another occasion which simply passed him by. Beyond one fiercely-struck half-volley which went just over, Balotelli’s impact was negligible, as he drifted into innocuous areas of the field far too often. His runs were either too predictable or non-existent, the few dangerous crosses LIverpool did produce flashed by without him even in the frame and he failed to have a shot in anger in the 74 minutes he managed before being substituted. Liverpool’s more pressing problem at the end of the season might be less about getting the best out of Balotelli, and more about getting rid of him.
Linked to Balotelli’s woes is the disappearing act carried out by Daniel Sturridge. The England striker’s intolerance to injuries of any kind – he takes the Dutch approach of never playing when he does not feel fully fit – has meant that he has played just a third of Liverpool’s games this season. Sturridge is unlikely to change his attitude, so Rodgers simply has to devise a fitness programme which will enable him to play more next season – because too often, Liverpool look toothless in his absence. Either that or – as he threatened on the morning of today’s match