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12th Sep 2016

El Hadji Diouf has a typically ludicrous theory about why Mario Balotelli failed at Liverpool

"Gerrard has never had his talent and then said negative things about him"

Robert Redmond

Why did Mario Balotelli fail at Liverpool?

Was it because of injuries, a poor attitude or that he arrived into a team in a flux following Luis Suarez’s departure?

Or was it because he’s actually not that good? The Italian ‘striker’ may have scored twice on his debut for Nice, (more league goals than in his season at Anfield) and experienced a purple patch during his first spell with AC Milan, but has he ever even come close to fulfilling his much hyped potential?

Did he even have that much potential to begin with?

How many games have you seen him actually play well? He scored twice against Manchester United in Manchester City’s 1-6 victory at Old Trafford in 2011, and two goals in the Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany. He also played well against England in the 2014 World Cup, scoring a header to win the game 2-1.


But in those games there were mitigating factors – i.e. dreadful defending – that went in Balotelli’s favour. During his time at Liverpool, the team may as well have had 10 players on the pitch when Balotelli was involved.

His last appearance for Italy saw him subbed off at half-time against Uruguay in the 2014 World Cup, the game where Luis Suarez took a bite out of Giorgio Chiellini, because Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli was worried Balotelli would be sent-off.

He’s not reliable, never has been and his failure at Liverpool is arguably down to his own failings as a player.

Hull City v Liverpool - Premier League

They appear to have little to do with Steven Gerrard, but El Hadji Diouf wasn’t going to miss a chance to take a dig at his nemesis.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Diouf and Balotelli are friends, and the retired Senegalese forward has blamed the former Liverpool captain for Balotelli’s struggles at Anfield.

“That is true but I told him not to go to Liverpool, it was not for him,” Diouf told L’Equipe.

“It could not go well with Gerrard, who has never had his talent and then said negative things about him. Gerrard is a jealous man who does not like men of character. Mario is a good person, he should listen. This is not a guy who will cause you problems in a locker room. He does not speak. There are plenty of things invented about him. Yet they say he enjoys the nightlife? And also not Ronaldinho? And others?”

Diouf had an unproductive, unhappy and controversial spell at Liverpool between 2002 and 2004 and has previous with Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher, his other former Liverpool teammate.

The retired forward had less than kind words for Carragher earlier this year, saying: “The difference between Jamie and me is that I am a world-class player and he is a shit.”

And he accused Gerrard of being a racist:

“It’s common knowledge Gerrard has never liked black people. When I was at Liverpool, I showed him I was black, that I wasn’t English, but that I’m no pushover. All the time I was there, he never dared looked me in the eye.”

For what it’s worth, Balotelli has blamed Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp, his coaches during his time at Liverpool, for his failure at the club.

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