Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli is doubtful for the club's final Premier League fixture of the season away to Stoke City, manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.
The Italian has not featured at all since completing a rare 90 minutes during the 1-0 defeat to Hull City on 28 April and has endured a frustrating campaign at Anfield with just one solitary goal to his name in 16 top-flight appearances.
"Mario is a doubt. Apart from that most are fit," Rodgers said in his pre-match press conference.
"Our season doesn't finish until the whistle blows on Sunday. We want to finish strong. That's our ambition at Stoke."
Despite the player's rather controversial past that likely contributed to his exit from Manchester City in January 2013, many heralded Liverpool's £16m ($25m) deal for Balotelli last summer as a potentially significant bargain due largely to his impressive scoring run during an 18-month spell back in Serie A with AC Milan.
The move has not quite gone to plan for either party, however, with Rodgers left almost certainly needing to re-enter the market in the coming months in order to bolster a strikeforce that has been depleted by persistent injuries to Daniel Sturridge and a lack of consistent contribution from the likes of Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini.
With Mario Mandzukic, Christian Benteke and Alexandre Lacazette having already been linked with potential moves to Liverpool, speculation has been quick to suggest that Balotelli could depart the Premier League once more during the upcoming transfer window.
Another return to Italy has been mooted and Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero recently expressed his excitement at a possible partnership between the 24-year-old and experienced former Chelsea forward Samuel Eto'o at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
"Balotelli is a great name," he told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli earlier in May. "He'd suit a lot of teams. I'd take him at Sampdoria in a heartbeat. A partnership of Eto'o-Balotelli would be fantastic."
Liverpool will hope to end a difficult and frustrating 2014/15 campaign on a high at the Britannia Stadium as they bid a heartfelt farewell to legendary captain Steven Gerrard, who is due to join Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles Galaxy shortly.
In addition to losing at the semi-final stage of both domestic cup competitions, the club have failed to retain their place in the top four and secure qualification for the Champions League after just one season back among Europe's elite.
Rodgers' preparations for the trip will not have been helped by the latest furore surrounding Raheem Sterling's long-running contract saga.
After reports suggesting that the England forward, who is out of contract in 2017 and has already rejected the opportunity to sign a lucrative extension, was set to inform Liverpool of his desire to leave at the end of the season were said to have been blown out of proportion, agent Aidy Ward gave an interview to the London Evening Standard in which quotes attributed to him claimed that his client would definitely not agree to new terms.
Sterling is fit and expected to start against Stoke, although it remains to be seen how he will be received by the travelling supporters after he was jeered by many during an end-of-season awards ceremony earlier this week.