Is Rodgers set to add another headache in Balotelli having just sold Suarez?

Mario Balotelli playing for AC Milan

Liverpool are on the verge of completing a deal for AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli - whose controversy will draw comparisons to Luis Suarez.

The Reds have splashed the cash this summer, signing Javier Manquillo, Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Rickie Lambert to the club, but manager Brendan Rodgers has been looking to bring in one world class striker to replace Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan joined Barcelona in a blockbuster deal this summer.

Deals for Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao never really got off the ground, but now AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli is reportedly on the verge of a shock £16m switch to Anfield having said his goodbyes to the Serie A side.

Replacing Suarez with Balotelli is the proverbial case of "jumping out of the frying pan into the fire". Suarez's time in England was marred by a spate of 'extra curricular' incidents, spanning accusations of racial abuse, diving, gestures and biting opponents, whilst Balotelli is famed for having driven into a women's prison in Italy, thrown darts at youth team players and set off fireworks in his own house.

Balotelli's misdemeanours are certainly more in his personal life rather than on the pitch like Suarez's are, but he still poses a similar headache to whoever tries to tame him. The likes of Jose Mourinho, Roberto Mancini and Massimiliano Allegri have all tried and failed, so what can Rodgers do?

Before Liverpool took on AC Milan in a pre-season friendly, Rodgers was full of praise for the former Manchester City forward, saying; "He's got all the qualities. He's 6ft 3ins, he's quick, his touch is terrific and he can score goals," said Rodgers. "He went back to Italy to play and he's still so young. If his focus is right, his concentration is right and he leads the lifestyle of a top player then he can play for any team in the world."

Those comments suggested that if Rodgers got the chance to work with Balotelli, he would have a plan in place to control his behaviour. His languid style doesn't really suit Liverpool's high pressing game, but Rodgers has already earned a reputation for getting the most of previously maligned players, such as John Flanagan, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.

The former Swansea City boss will have to work some more of his magic on Balotelli if he's to be the player that Liverpool fans think he will be, and there will no doubt be some ups and downs during his time at the club if he does indeed arrive on Merseyside.

However, Rodgers showed during Suarez's turbulent yet productive spell at Anfield that he can handle the so-called 'bad boys' of football - and Liverpool fans have to hope that the same will happen with Balotelli at Anfield.

Can Balotelli be the man to replace Suarez at Liverpool? Will Rodgers be able to handle him?

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