Mario Balotelli finally scores a goal as Liverpool beat Tottenham & smiles... for Instagram fans only
After seven months, 14 appearances, and 48 shots on goal - the enfant terrible of football, Mario Balotelli - has finally scored a goal.
Based just on his stony-faced celebration, you won't have a clue that he has just ended his Premier League goal drought against Tottenham Hotspur early on Wednesday morning (Feb 11).
The goal was his first league strike since he netted for Manchester City against Wigan Athletic, way back in November 2012.
He seems to be saving his smile for his Instagram followers.
The footballer has endured a miserable start to his Anfield career since joining from AC Milan in August.
But the goal means his burdensome barren run is finally over, as he helped Liverpool snatch all three points with an 83rd minute toe-poke from close range at Anfield.
While this is far from a complete reversal in fortunes for Balotelli, who only came off the bench in the 74th minute, it may go some way towards convincing manager Brendan Rodgers that he could be a useful asset in the final few months of the season.
Balotelli was not even on the bench for Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton: He came on for Liverpool in the 74th min after they had twice taken the lead against Spurs through Lazar Markovic and a Steven Gerrard penalty, only to be pegged back by goals from Harry Kane and Moussa Dembele.
He owed his goal to the sort of clever movement in the box that he has so often failed to produce this season.
Before Adam Lallana drilled the ball across the goal, Balotelli ran to the near post before drifting behind Tottenham defender Eric Dier and tapping home.
The striker’s contribution could prove critical in the battle for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Defeat would have left seventh-placed Liverpool six points off fourth with only 13 matches left to play.
Their next two league games are crucial encounters against Southampton and Manchester City when Balotelli is likely to find himself back on the bench with Daniel Sturridge having returned to fitness and making his first start since August.
Sources: Reuters, Vine, Instagram