The excited Italy striker himself tweeted confirmation of his arrival on Merseyside at 5.58am, writing ‘YNWA! COME ON LIVERPOOL!’ on his @FinallyMario account.
That night, he sat alongside another new acquisition, Adam Lallana, at the Etihad Stadium and, while watching a 3-1 defeat by Manchester City, must have thought he could inspire a Liverpool side smarting from the departure of Luis Suarez.
Manager Brendan Rodgers agreed. Sure, Mario was a handful but he believed he could be the one to finally tame him, heralding a return to the sparkling form he showed at Manchester City.
“I think we have done a really smart piece of business here,’ gushed Rodgers. This transfer represents outstanding value for the club.”
Fast forward to now and that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.
Balotelli’s performance in Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Hull City on Tuesday night was just the latest in a string of inept and inadequate displays and his days at Anfield appear to be numbered.
Let’s consider Balotelli’s true value this season. His transfer fee was £16m and he is paid a basic salary of £90,000 (Sh13,142,662.34)-a-week. Balotelli has been at the club for 36 weeks, so the two combined come to £19.24m (Sh2,832,973,882.07).
He has scored just one Premier League goal, the winner against Tottenham back in February. So he has cost Liverpool £19.24m per league goal so far.
According to Opta, Balotelli has had 20 shots on target in his 16 Premier League appearances, equating to £962,000 (Sh140,480,457.45) for each one. It is just over £1.2m for each of his 16 shots off target.
Balotelli has not contributed any assists in the league and has created just 10 chances for team-mates – working out at a staggering £1.924m each.
In those 16 league games, Balotelli has played 241 passes, meaning Liverpool have shelled out £79,834 for each one. And only 70 per cent of those were accurate.
It is also worth noting that these figures do not include the bonuses included in Balotelli’s incentivised contract, though a return of one league goal and just four overall suggests suggests there aren’t many bonuses to speak of.
These expensive returns must be particularly galling for owner John W Henry, the man whose ‘Moneyball’ methods based on stats and value-for-money governed acquisitions at the Boston Red Sox baseball team he also owns.
As Liverpool face the prospect of missing out on Champions League football – Tuesday’s result keeps them seven points off fourth place with four games left – Balotelli is increasingly looking like a luxury they can’t afford.
He was hooked by Rodgers after 20 minutes of the second-half at the KC Stadium, having touched the ball just once after the break.
It was the latest miserable episode in a costly season for both Liverpool and Balotelli.
Transfer fee: £16m
Weekly wages: £90,000 x 36 weeks at club = £3.24m
TOTAL SO FAR: £19.24m
In 16 Premier League appearances:
Goals – 1 or £19.24m per goal
Shots on target – 20 or £962,000 per shot
Shots off target – 16 or £1.2m per shot
Chances created – 10 or £1.924m per chance
Passes – 241 or £79,834 per pass
Stats courtesy of Opta
-By Daily Mail