Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher does not believe Mario Balotelli will remain with the club next season, and has labelled the controversial forward a panic buy.
Balotelli joined the Reds from AC Milan for £16million over the summer but has offered little thus far to suggest he can make a lasting impression at Anfield.
He was hauled off at the interval during the Merseysiders' 3-0 humbling defeat to Real Madrid, suggesting manager Brendan Rodgers' patience is already wearing thin at the Italian's lacklustre displays.
Balotelli earned further ire by swapping shirts with Real defender Pepe at half-time and Carragher, who thinks Liverpool rushed in to sign the 24-year-old as a replacement for Luis Suarez, has suggested the striker could soon find himself surplus to requirements.
"I'd be surprised to see him here next season," said the former centre-half, who made over 500 appearances for Liverpool in 17 years.
Carragher added: "It was just a panic; they needed someone. They left it too late and they've bought different players in different positions instead of maybe going out, not spending the whole Suarez money on one player, but buying two or three big players.
"A lot of the players have come in and done a decent job here and there, but nobody's really done anything.
"They bring in Balotelli late on - it's obviously a panic."
Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 3 player ratings
Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 3 player ratings
1/22 Liverpool: Simon Mignolet
Could do nothing about the first two goals but the third was a defensive mess. Made one very fine save from Cristiano Ronaldo - 6/10
2/22 Glen Johnson
If it was not Ronaldo sprinting down Real's left, it was full-back Marcelo, adding up to a difficult night for Johnson, who also allowed Karim Benzema a free header for the second goal - 5
3/22 Martin Skrtel
Beaten by the brilliance of Ronaldo for the first goal then outmuscled by Pepe for the third - 5
4/22 Dejan Lovren
This was a thoroughly uncomfortable night for the Liverpool defence as a whole, but Lovren fared a little better than his team-mates - 6
5/22 Alberto Moreno
An early threat going forward but given a tough time by Real's attacking triumvirate - 5
6/22 Jordan Henderson
Worked hard but gave the ball away too often as Real overpowered Liverpool in midfield - 5
7/22 Steven Gerrard
Began brightly and tested Iker Casillas with a fine shot in the 11th minute. Thereafter occupied trying to stifle Real's attacking threat - 6
8/22 Joe Allen
Had one of Liverpool's better efforts on goal in the first half but outclassed in midfield - 5
9/22 Raheem Sterling
Looked Liverpool's most dangerous attacker, with his pace troubling Real, but too often had to try to do the whole lot himself - 6
10/22 Mario Balotelli
Retained despite heavy criticism but very ineffective and hauled off at half-time - 4
11/22 Philippe Coutinho
Looked bright to start with before fading as Real took over. Hit the post with a fine effort at the end of the first half before being substituted in the second - 5
12/22 Iker Casillas
The veteran Spain goalkeeper was making his 143th Champions League appearance, equalling all-time record holder Xavi. His form has been shaky but dealt with the few threats that came his way very capably - 6
13/22 Alvaro Arbeloa
The former Liverpool full-back enjoyed a good tussle with Sterling and then Lallana - 6
14/22 Raphael Varane
Not too much to worry about for the young French defender - 6
Set up the third goal with his persistence and had a comfortable night in defence - 6
A real presence in Real's attack and Liverpool did not manage to exploit the gaps he left - 7
A fine, energetic performance from the midfielder - 7
18/22 Luka Modric
Instrumental in Real's control of the midfield - 8
19/22 Toni Kroos
Immaculate in front of the back four and set up Benzema's goal with a fine cross. Booked for fouling Sterling - 8
20/22 James Rodriguez
Had to be patched up after an early blow to the head and had done little until his lovely chip set up Ronaldo - 7
21/22 James Rodriguez
Two goals for the Frenchman and it might have been more - 8
22/22 Cristiano Ronaldo
The former Manchester United man, not surprisingly, was greeted by plenty of boos. He had scored more goals this season than Liverpool's entire team and it took him only 23 minutes to add another sublime strike. A constant threat and substituted with Saturday's Clasico in mind - 8
Other former Liverpool players in Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Souness have questioned why Balotelli was signed at all, given his track record of falling out with high-profile managers at his other clubs.
"I don't blame Mario Balotelli - I blame Brendan Rodgers for bringing him here," Redknapp said on Sky Sports 5. "How he thought he could turn around a player that (Jose) Mourinho, (Roberto) Mancini, (Cesare) Prandelli have all washed their hands of...
"There's a reason when you go to the supermarket and things are half price. Why on earth they went for him, I'll never know.
"They should have just left him alone. The fact he went and got him, it just doesn't make any sense to me."
Souness, a former player and manager of Liverpool, backed up his fellow pundits, adding: "It was a really, really brave decision to take him into that football club, given the quality of managers and the quality of clubs that have said 'thanks but no thanks'."
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