Brendan Rodgers, 4 August: "I can categorically tell you Mario Balotelli will not be at Liverpool. In my last press conference I was asked a question about Mario Balotelli and I talked about what a talent he was and what an excellent player he was.
"And the next day it was wrote as if we were signing him.
"I just gave my perception of him as a player. It shouldn't be transmitted in to us signing the player."
Can you imagine a world without Balotelli? It's been a peaceful 18 months without the feckless nutcase in English football but now Liverpool could disrupt all that by bringing the barmpot back to the north-west.
Spurned by Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani, Liverpool have looked to Balotelli to improve their strikeforce. The same Balotelli who is a walking liability, who did his best to scupper Manchester City's title chances two years ago and who wears "YOLO" under his shirt.
He does boast some talent and it was his assist that gave Sergio Agüero his Michael Thomas moment, but Balotelli was sold halfway through his final season at City after Roberto Mancini had finally had enough of him. Balotelli was predictably poor at the World Cup, too, despite a winning goal against England.
Unlike Luis Suárez, Balotelli's output doesn't match his baggage. He scored 17 goals in 32 games in an abysmal AC Milan team last season but with Liverpool aspiring to go one better it is debatable whether he can guide them to a first title since 1990.
Aside from his lay-off for Agüero, Balotelli performed brilliantly in City's 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final wins over Manchester United and Stoke City, so he can rise to the occasions. He bagged two in City's 6-1 annihilation of United and is Cantona-cool from the penalty spot.Suggest a correction