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Report: Napoli keeping a close eye on Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli


Reports on Tuesday suggest Serie A side Napoli are willing to offer Mario Balotelli an escape route from Liverpool.

Balotelli, 24, has only scored once in his first 11 games for the Reds since arriving from AC Milan for $26 million on Deadline Day and hthe Italian striker has seen his form and confidence dropfollowing several lackluster displays.

The Guardian reports that Napoli, managed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, want Balotelli and could make a move to take him back to Serie A in January for a cut-price $17 million.

Given Brendan Rodgers’ constant praise of Balotelli’s work rate and effort in games and on the training ground early in his Anfield career, plus the Liverpool manager keeping his faith with ‘Balo’ despite Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and others waiting in the wings, this reports seems a little wide of the mark.

However following Balotelli’s poor performance against Real Madrid where he was hooked off at half time and incensed fans and Rodgers by swapping shirts with Real’s defender Pepe in the tunnel, Liverpool’s patience is already starting to wear thin. He then spurned a last-gasp chance to beat Hull City on Saturday in a disappointing 0-0 draw, gaining similar negative criticism across the board.

Despite all that, Balotelli seems determined to make his move to Liverpool work because, as many suggested when the deal was done, this is almost a ‘last chance saloon’ for the former Manchester City and Inter Milan forward.

Let’s see if the rumor mill is right on this one, or if Balotelli can knuckle down, win over the doubters and remain at Liverpool.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports