Mario Balotelli has been told he has no future with Liverpool and the striker is training away from the first-team squad along with Fabio Borini and Jose Enrique, whom the club are also looking to offload this summer.
Balotelli, 24, was not on the pre-season tour to Thailand, Australia and Malaysia, and neither has he been included in the squads for the friendly games against HJK Helsinki in Finland tomorrow or Swindon Town on Sunday.
The club want £10m for a player who cost them £16m to sign last summer and they anticipate that any deal will probably go to the final day of the transfer window on 1 September.
Rarely in the past has Brendan Rodgers asked members of the senior squad to train separately – Luis Suarez did so after his demand to leave the club in the summer of 2013 – but the Liverpool manager has told Balotelli that he does not want him around the first team.
It is telling that, although Rickie Lambert’s departure to West Bromwich Albion is imminent, the Englishman is still part of the first-team group in training.
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
Lambert’s deal is in the final stages with the negotiations now over the structure of the £3m payment from West Bromwich. There has been interest from Norwich City and Leicester City in Lambert but West Bromwich have always been the key contenders for his signature.
The future for Balotelli is less certain. Liverpool’s asking price is far too high for Bologna, who have expressed an interest, and the likelihood is that a solution will be found by the player’s agent Mino Raiola, who has moved him before. There has been no official approach to Liverpool over Borini from West Ham. Enrique’s future is also uncertain, with no major interest in him yet.
The Helsinki game is Rodgers’ main focus and he has named a strong squad. The likelihood is that Christian Benteke, the £32.5m signing from Aston Villa, will make his debut against Swindon on Sunday. That will possibly be Roberto Firmino’s debut too – he is also not travelling to Helsinki.
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