Football

Pool agree $33m deal for Balotelli

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli is on the verge of a move to Liverpool.

At press time, the Reds had agreed a £16 million ($33m) fee for the Italy international, with the player still in negotiations with the English club over personal terms.

The 24-year-old forward had already said his farewell ahead of the deal.

Balotelli, quoted by Sky Italia, said: "It's my last day at Milanello (club training ground)."

Earlier, the Rossoneri announced through their official television channel that they were in negotiations with the Reds over a permanent deal.

Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, was reported to have flown to England to push forward discussions between his client and the Reds for a £92,000-a-week, five-year contract.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said that Brendan Rodgers will know exactly what to do to get the very best out of Balotelli, thanks to his time managing Luis Suarez.

He told Sky Sports: "Brendan has had plenty of practice with Luis, I suppose.

"The main thing for any player is what they do on the pitch. Both of those players had issues off the pitch, but I think it's fair to say Suarez did a lot more on the pitch.

"You will always get a little bit more freedom if you're producing on the pitch, that's the main thing for any player.

NUMBER ONE

"Balotelli is Italy's No. 1 striker, and you want to see good players here. Liverpool do need a striker."

However, Carragher warned the Italy international, who has scored 88 career goals in 222 games, that he might face a fight to get into the Liverpool team.

"Would Balotelli be the final piece of the jigsaw? Would he make the starting 11 if everyone was fit and firing? Who knows?" said Carragher.

"Daniel Sturridge has got 36 goals in 50 games for Liverpool and, at this moment, he is the main man up front.

"Would Brendan then accommodate another striker... like he did with Luis Suarez?

"He has lots of options now, Brendan Rodgers, and I don't think he will play the same team too often, so they do need those options."

- Wire Services.