Brendan Rodgers has spoken to Daniel Sturridge to give him assurances before the imminent arrival of Mario Balotelli at Liverpool.
The Italian striker is on the verge of signing for the Reds after a fee of £16m was agreed with AC Milan last week.
Balotelli has a history of on and off field disciplinary problems and there are concerns the 24-year-old could destabilise the Merseyside club.
Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness said: "It's an enormous gamble by Rodgers, a gamble I don't think he needs to take because he has a very strong group of players."
It is hoped Rodgers will be able to get the best out of the Italian due to his proven track record of dealing with difficult players.
The departed Luis Suarez flourished under Rodgers, whilst Raheem Sterling has also progressed incredibly well.
Rodgers feels confident he can revive Balotelli's career at Anfield because in Daniel Sturridge he took another “difficult” footballer and made him flourish. Off the field, Suarez and Sturridge were not close but on it they formed one of the most lethal attacking partnerships Liverpool has known.
Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Read the full story here.
After gambling at Manchester's 235 Casino, Balotelli walked away with winnings of £25,000. Feeling generous, he gave a homeless man 'with ginger dreadlocks and a beard' £1,000. Click here for the full story.
3/17 Parking fines
During his time in Manchester, Balotelli racked up £10,000 in parking fines and had his white Maserati impounded 27 times. Once he was pulled over by the police who wanted to enquire why he had £5,000 in cash on his front seat. Balotelli reorted: 'Because I am rich.' Click here for the full story.
Balotelli was 'bored', so threw darts at Manchester City youth team players to pass the time. Click here for the full story.
Balotelli explained prior to Euro 2012 how he would deal with racists: 'I will not accept racism at all. It's unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail, because I will kill them.'
In a pre-season friendly for AC Milan, two fans ran onto the pitch to demand a selfie with the striker. Rather than shy away like most would in such a situation, Balotelli was more than happy to oblige.
Mario isn't a one trick pony. He can also iron, dance and read - all at the same time. Click here to watch.
For reasons never fully explained, Balotelli once sported a chicken hat. Thankfully it was a trend that never caught on.
Getty Images; Sky News
A bright spark at the body that co-ordinates firework safety material enlisted Balotelli soon after it was reported that some had been set off in the bathroom of his Manchester mansion.
10/17 Why always me?
The day those stories emerged, Balotelli scored for City in the Manchester derby, giving him the perfect opportunity to reveal *that* t-shirt.
11/17 The Queen
The Queen may be wary of Balotelli's return to England. During the World Cup, he said he wanted a kiss from Her Royal Highness should Italy do England a favour by beating Costa Rica. Thankfully for everyone involved, they didn't.
During a Europa League defeat to Dynamo Kiev, Balotelli had to be substituted in the 57th minute with his face swelling up. It emerged afterwards that the Italian is allergic to some types of grass.
During an Inter Milan press conference to announce the appointment of Andrea Stramaccioni as interim-manager, Balotelli interrupted proceedings to say hello. He was enjoying a day-off from Manchester City at the time. Click here to watch.
Balotelli's naked torso was to be one of the defining images of Euro 2012 - but he's not overly keen on celebrating goals. 'I don't celebrate goals, I'm just doing my job,' he infamously said. 'Does a postman celebrate when he delivered the mail?'
Balotelli has always appeared to be well loved by his team-mates. Perhaps it's the pranks he plays, like this one on Edin Dzeko. Click here to watch.
Balotelli was reportedly questioned by police in Italy when he was found taking a look around the grounds of a women's prison in Brescia. Apparently he simply fancied having a look. Click here for the full story.
Balotelli's relationship with former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was a complicated one. It has been described as a father-and-son type relationship - only the sort where they fight each other during training.
EAMONN & JAMES CLARKE
With Suarez having left for Barcelona, Sturridge would have felt he was now indisputably Liverpool's main striker. Balotelli's arrival on Merseyside may have altered that, although Rodgers is confident Sturridge’s ego is less fragile than it once was.
"A top player with a top mentality will respond to the competition,” said Rodgers. “I have spoken to Daniel and said how important he is for the team. The confidence I have in him has been shown in his performances. He has 36 goals in 50 games for Liverpool. You can’t do that if you are not happy with your life and your football."
There have also been questions raised about where Balotelli fits into Liverpool's system, but Rodgers is confident he can make it work.
“We can also play a diamond. We played that eight times last year and won seven, and we flipped to that against Southampton. We can change systems and I need that flexibility. Also, if you look at Daniel’s injury record, then he has missed a number of weeks through being injured. I need to ensure I have got the replacements if they are not on the pitch at the same time.”
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