Liverpool have confirmed that their Italian striker Mario Balotelli missed the first day of pre-season training with the club after he was granted compassionate leave, amid reports his adoptive father Francesco Balotelli has sadly passed away.
Mario posted an update to his fans on his official Facebook page, which read: “Thank you for all the support. Myself and my family thank you for the kind words.”
After a disappointing first season at the Merseyside club, which saw him score just one Premier League goal, Balotelli will be hoping when he returns to training he can make an impression on manager Brendan Rodgers, and play a much larger part for the team next time around.
There have been numerous reports for a while linking him with a move away from the club, with countless destinations touted such as a return to Italy playing for Sampdoria, although that has now been ruled out – but he looks set to remain with Liverpool for the time being, but it has been widely speculated that at some point during this transfer window he would be on the move – his final destination unclear as of yet.
Liverpool head to Southeast Asia and Australia on a pre-season tour at the weekend, and the early indications point towards Mario being reunited with the squad in time for the trip.
Liverpool’s players trained for the first time this pre-season on Monday, and will begin their preparations for what they hope is to be a much more successful assault on the Premier League title this season.
Liverpool are currently fifth favourites to win the Premier League title with odds of 20/1 on offer, showing that the bookies aren’t too expectant of any Liverpudlian success.
Last years winners Chelsea (8/5) are favourites once more, followed closely by Manchester City (12/5). Arsenal (9/2) and Manchester United (11/2) are the two other teams currently fancied more than Liverpool at this stage.
Liverpool have had a busy summer of incomings so far as they have welcomed six new players.
The big name signing came a couple of weeks ago when the club announced the £29,000,000 signing of Brazilian Roberto Firmino. That was followed by the £12,000,000 signing of Nathaniel Clyne last week, as he joined from Premier League rivals Southampton.
Danny Ings, Ádám Bogdán, James Milner and Joe Gomez are the other new arrivals as they look to build on last seasons 5th placed finish.