Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not-so Super Mario

Last season Liverpool came as close to winning the Premier League as they have come for a long time, and this had led to hopes rising among Liverpool fans for this season. So far, they have been disappointed, and the 0-3 trashing they received by Real Madrid in the Champions League only showed how far Liverpool are from reaching the levels of the world's best teams. If anything, Real Madrid were nice to play at a lower tempo, or the trashing could have become as embarrassing and overwhelming as what Bayern Munich had done in Rome the day before.
What perhaps symbolizes Liverpool's fall compared to last season is the players they let go, and the replacements that came in. Liverpool's defense is, if not a joke, somewhat comical, and while one can question the quality of current defenders, their lack of experience seems unquestionable. But one of the most clear changes in Liverpool is the absence of Luis Suarez, the "biter", and his replacement with Mario Balotelli. Liverpool good rid of a troublemaker, yes, but a quality and hardworking player, who despite his lack of discipline, always put the team ahead of himself. What Liverpool did well was to manage to rein in his psychotic traits during matches, and then get the best from his genius. They undoubtedly have been hoping to do the same with Balotelli, but the problem is that Balotelli's issues are different. While Suarez has been a problematic star in every team he has been at, Mario Balotelli has been a super talented problem child in every team he has played at. He has amazing skills, but he is lazy and self-centered; everything is about Balotelli. His controversial shirt swap with Pepe during half time of the match exemplified a player who thinks of himself before the team; his attitude and lack of fighting for the team on the pitch exemplifies this even more.
Perhaps Liverpool can change Balotelli. I hope so, because he is a fantastic player. But I doubt it, and I think Balotelli will turn into one of the flops of this season's Premier League, along with Liverpool's hopes to have a better season than last.

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