This week must register as the worst week ever in Mario Balotelli's short footballing career. From a listless and anonymous performance against QPR, to a lively but ultimately, aimless and out-of-sync performance against Real Madrid, Balotelli has become public enemy number one at Liverpool and a complete laughing stock elsewhere. For this reason Balotelli has to be dropped.
Let's be clear: this conclusion has nothing to do with the shirt-swapping scandal with Real Madrid's Pepe - too much has been made from that incident. It also has very little to do with Balotelli's open goal miss against QPR - even if he had scored it doesn't change the fact he is completely at odds with Liverpool.
In every game Balotelli has featured in this season, he has been incredibly selfish as he has regularly taken pot shots from distances of over 30+ yards. More importantly, he shows a completely disregard to the whereabouts of his teammates - almost as if he was void of any footballing intelligence.
On two occasions last night, Balotelli had the opportunity to play Raheem Sterling in on goal with a through ball. On the first attempt he was looking directly into the path of Sterling (whether or not he saw him is another factor), turned away and started to dribble in another direction. Sterling only had Pepe ahead of him (who Sterling is far faster than and proved so several times on the night) and a through ball would have put Sterling in on goal. Whether or not Sterling would have scored is up for debate but Balotelli's selfish or unintelligent play did not give Sterling a chance.
The second time was when Balotelli superbly controlled the ball and then without looking up, played a through ball into air - Sterling had made a run in the other direction and was again through on goal
Rickie Lambert is a Liverpool player and supporter through and through, meanwhile, Borini has fought tooth and nail to be a part of the Liverpool squad this season, turning down more lucrative deals in the process.
Whilst neither are admittedly the most talented, neither is Balotelli. His sporadic moments of brilliance override the fact the majority of what he produces is unintelligible brain farts that kills the flow of the team to a halt.
Both Lambert and Borini are quite clever players. Lambert is great at bringing others into play and Borini is good making runs in behind the box.
Brendan Rodgers needs to swallow his pride and drop Balotelli to the bench, at least until he has become less selfish and more importantly, learnt how to read a game of football.