Mario Balotelli moved a step closer to an Anfield exit in the summer as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed that the Italian had withdrawn himself from the squad to travel to Arsenal after taking a ‘slight knock’ in training.
The £16million striker would only have been a substitute against Arsenal and would even have been behind Daniel Sturridge, who also started on the bench, in the pecking order.
And Rodgers revealed the striker did not travel with the squad after a sustaining training ground injury on Friday.
‘He trained on Friday afternoon with the team and he took a slight knock to his knee and he deemed himself not able to travel,’ said Rodgers.
‘I’m not a medic. He felt it was too sore to travel. The medical staff have looked at it. It was just something that he himself didn’t feel comfortable enough to travel.’
Though Rodgers did not question Balotelli’s commitment to the club’s cause, the player has been a constant source of frustration at the club this season, with the manager having previously made it clear that he would have to work much harder to adapt to Liverpool’s style.
With just four goals in 25 appearances, his future at the club is already in question – though he has another three years on his contract.