Liverpool vs Aston Villa

Super Mario’s next level

 You could have scored that goal?

Probably not, but I digress.

We learned quite a bit about Mario Balotelli’s relationship with his manager and his teammates in the waning moments of Tottenham’s visit to Anfield on Tuesday.

The broodish celebration was news to no one, but for all his detractors claiming him to be club house poison, that celebratory hug was ten dudes deep.

Someone must like him.

Rodgers also made the risky decision to put Balotelli  in over the likes of Rickie Lambert, who…you know…has actually scored for Liverpool this season.

Balotelli finally opened his account with a goal to go along with his 8 assists and 70% pass conversion rate.

The footballing community has used the word ‘mercurial’ ad nauseum as a euphemism for inconsistent play, uneven form, and/or unwelcome displays of personality (see Adebayor, Emmanuel), but with Balotelli’s track record he might as well bear the cross of the community of moody footballers.

Despite his invisible performances for Liverpool on the heels of his nothing-to-write-home-about AC Milan tenure, those with short attention spans forget this is the man responsible for single-handedly knocking the German juggernaut out of Euro 2012:

AND handed Sir Alex Ferguson the worst Manchester derby defeat of his illustrious career:

The 24-year-old Italian has risen to the occasion on the biggest of stages, but that doesn’t change that he only boasts one goal during the 776 minutes he has been on the pitch for Liverpool.

It was one goal and it swung one (crucial) match. Is Balotelli back? One highly efficient tap in is too early to judge, but we now know that his manager, and his team believe in him, and most importantly have his back.

With the intangibles lining into place, its safe to say we haven’t heard the last of Mario Balotelli.

 

UPDATE: Balotelli busted for performance enhancing drugs:

[Editor’s note – I don’t know what the hell to make of that video. but it seemed fitting at the time. In retrospect, I find it mildly disturbing]

 

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