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Balotelli must agree to behaviour clause

ESPN staff
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Brendan Rodgers has laid down the law to Mario Balotelli and told the controversial striker he must agree to behave if he is to complete his £16 million move to Liverpool.

After agreeing a fee with AC Milan, Liverpool representatives held talks with Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola on Merseyside yesterday.

Liverpool are demanding that the former Manchester City striker agrees to abide by the club's code of conduct before pressing ahead with the switch.

Mario Balotelli attracted controversy on and off the pitch during his spell at Manchester City © PA Photos
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Rodgers and Anfield chiefs have requested several clauses in Balotelli's contract which will see him face disciplinary measures should he not conduct himself professionally.

Liverpool have decided to take these measures given the 24-year-old's history of erratic behaviour on and off the pitch at his previous clubs.

Balotelli's career has been overshadowed by several bizarre episodes. On the eve of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford in October 2011, fireworks were set off in his bathroom at his home, while he was involved in several training ground bust-ups with City team-mates and even his manager Roberto Mancini during his time at the club.

Balotelli has said his goodbyes to his Milan team-mates with the club announcing his departure, however, Liverpool are insistent that the striker agrees to these personal terms if the move is to be completed.

Should the deal be finalised before Rodgers faces the media on Friday afternoon at Liverpool's Melwood training ground, he is likely to explain why he has purchased a player he earlier said he "categorically" would not sign.

Rodgers made the emphatic comments during Liverpool's pre-season tour of America three weeks ago, but has since seen his pursuit of other forward targets stall.

Liverpool enquired about Monaco's Radamel Falcao but believe he is still waiting on Real Madrid to make their move, while former Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o was also a mooted option.

Rodgers' about-turn is said to be down to the reduced fee Liverpool are acquiring Balotelli for, as compared to the figure of £40m that was being quoted for the striker before the World Cup, where his performances were criticised as Italy crashed out in the group stages.

Liverpool feel that paying £16m for Balotelli is a calculated gamble, however, and could prove to be a bargain.

Rodgers also reportedly believes he has the man-management skills to get the best out of Balotelli, having also done so with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, who both arrived at the club with reputations of being difficult.

The club have yet to find a replacement for Suarez since his £75m move to Barcelona, with Loic Remy having failed a medical earlier this summer.

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