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'Balotelli gamble Liverpool don't need to take'

ESPN staff
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Balotelli arrives for Liverpool medical

Signing Mario Balotelli is an "enormous gamble" that Liverpool don't need to take, says the club's former manager Graeme Souness.

AC Milan striker Balotelli is closing in on a transfer to Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers looks to replace the goals of Luis Suarez, who joined Barcelona for £75 million earlier this summer.

Mario Balotelli is set to complete a £16 million move to Liverpool © PA Photos
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The £16m move for the controversial former Manchester City player is seen as something of a coup by many, but Souness has warned Liverpool they could be making a mistake.

Writing in the Sunday Times, he 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.

"The harmony looks good but he may find, like every previous manager of the Italian, that he will spend more time talking about Balotelli, spending time with him and defending him, than he will the rest of the group put together.''

Souness, who managed Liverpool to FA Cup glory in 1992 and has also been in charge of Newcastle, Blackburn, Rangers and Southampton, went on to say that he would not sign Balotelli if he was still in charge at Anfield.

He added: "At times Balotelli doesn't seem to enjoy football. Big teams can do without people who pick and choose when they will have a go. It's a high-risk signing. I wouldn't want him.''

Balotelli's spell at City from summer 2010 to January 2013 was littered with controversy, with the striker attracting negative headlines for his behaviour both on and off the pitch.

He scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for the club and set up Sergio Aguero's stoppage-time goal against Queens Park Rangers which saw them crowned Premier League champions in 2012 - their first league title since 1968.

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