Mario Balotelli shakes off bug as Liverpool begin hectic spell

2014-09-12 12:27

London – Mario Balotelli will be available for Liverpool’s home Premier League match against Aston Villa tomorrow after recovering from illness, manager Brendan Rodgers said.

The Italy striker missed training yesterday, adding to Rodgers’ concerns after a string of injuries to the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen.

“Mario has had a bit of a bug that we wanted to make sure he didn’t spread around the group,” Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo. “But he’ll be okay for Saturday.”

Liverpool’s squad faces a severe test with seven matches in 21 days, beginning with the visit of Villa.

Having no European football last season was seen as major advantage for Liverpool as they challenged strongly for the title, but Rodgers believes his squad now has the depth to cope with challenges on multiple fronts.

“We have options now and that’s key for us,” Rodgers, who spent more than £100 million (about R1.8 billion) on the likes of Southampton’s Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert, Emre Can and Alberto Moreno, said.

“We had a great window in terms of the calibre of players we brought in.

“We signed young players with quality and some with more experience as that’s what we needed.

“Adam is looking good and he will go on and show his qualities. Rickie has mostly had an impact from the bench since he came in. We saw it with England the other night when he come on and set up the goal for [Danny] Welbeck.”

Looking ahead to the next few weeks, Rodgers said it was an exciting time for the club which is back in the Champions League after a three-season absence.

“I look at the schedule of games for September and October and it’s fantastic,” Rodgers added.

“Hopefully we get a good result on Saturday and then we’ll look to the Champions League. It will be a great occasion to be back at that level.”

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