Balotelli 'will stick with Reds'
Things have not gone as planned for Mario Balotelli at Liverpool but the Italy international is hopeful of turning things around at Anfield, according to his agent.
Balotelli has failed to score in the Barclays Premier League since joining Liverpool from AC Milan in a £16million transfer deal last summer.
The 24-year-old striker has since been linked with a return to Italy in the January transfer market in a bid to reignite his career.
However, Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola has brushed off those rumours and insists the former Manchester City player will stay put.
"Balotelli is very disappointed with himself, " Raiola told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "He's going through a bad time like he's never had before.
"In Liverpool he hasn't had the space he needs: if you can't make things go the way you want, you stay out of the team.
"Then he was injured for eight weeks so he lost his rhythm.
"But the plan is for him to continue at Anfield.
"I saw him on Monday and told him: 'You have a four-year contract and I will not send you away.
"Or you leave Liverpool at 60-70 million (euros), and I win my bet, or you will die there'.
"It's the first time I have made a speech like that to a player.
"I've seen him quiet, changed, different from when he was at Milan. "
Raiola believes Balotelli has not been treated fairly by the media and claims that the former striker is "insecure".
"Of all the players I knew I've never met one forced to face the injustices suffered by Mario," Raiola said. "People don't know him but the truth is that Mario is an insecure boy, and it's down to his insecurity that maybe he does stupid things."
Balotelli played for City between 2010 and 2013 before being sold to Milan, where he scored 26 goals in 43 appearances.
However, the pressure at Milan ultimately proved too much for Balotelli, according to Raiola.
"AC Milan needed a leader," Raiola said. "But he is not a leader, and it is also wrong to ask him to be one.
"There are very strong players who have no leadership skills, others less strong that do."