LIVERPOOL (Sporting Alert) — Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes Mario Balotelli respects no one and can’t see him at Anfield past the end of this season.
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The controversial Italian forward was the main subject in Liverpool’s Europa League round of 32 first leg 1-0 victory over Besiktas on Thursday, and it wasn’t for a good reason, despite him scoring the winning goal from a spot kick.
Balotelli was involved in an argument with stand-in captain Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge over who should take Liverpool’s penalty kick and it turned into a media circus, which resulted in captain Steven Gerrard blasting the former Manchester City forward.
A number of Liverpool players and even club manager Brendan Rodgers have come out to defend Balotelli over his antics, but Redknapp thinks it’s only a matter of time before he leaves.
“The problem you have with Mario is I don’t think he has got a lot of respect for anybody,” Redknapp said on talkSPORT.
“He has worked with some of the best managers in (Cesare) Prandelli, (Jose) Mourinho, (Roberto) Mancini, everybody he has worked with has tried with this man but nobody seems to get to the bottom of it.
“The objective is to put the ball into the back of the net, thankfully that is what he did, but it is not nice to see players arguing like that on the field.
“He is an incredibly confident penalty taker and very good at it, but it is that lack of respect that he has.”
Redknapp added that the 24-year-old, who has netted just once in the English Premier League with his new team, has not justified his £16 million move from AC Milan in the summer, and thinks the forward is doing more harm than good in Rodgers’ squad.
“I don’t see long-term he will be at Anfield, I really don’t,” added Redknapp.
“He has scored a couple of goals in fairness, the goals against Tottenham and yesterday were important, but I am sure Brendan Rodgers is thinking he is more hassle than he is worth because he hasn’t produced the quality you would like and when you look at other players around him they don’t seem to enjoy his company on the field.
“It always seems to be about him, but it shouldn’t be. He is working at a great football club with lots of other good young players and I am sure they look around and wonder why he gets so much attention when he doesn’t deserve it.”
Liverpool travel to St. Mary’s to face Southampton in a rival battle for a top four spot on Sunday and Balotelli is expected to start the game on the bench once again.