Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli is set to return to LiverpoolGetty Images

Striker Mario Balotelli is set to return to Liverpool for the start of the new season after AC Milan decided against turning his loan deal into a permanent transfer. The Italy international has been on loan at the San Siro this season, but has not impressed sufficiently to convince the club to sign him on a permanent basis.

The enigmatic 25-year-old forward was signed by the Reds for £16m ($23.5m) in 2014 but after one turbulent season, he was subsequently loaned out to Milan. However, the club's owner Silvio Berlusconi has revealed they do not intend to sign him on a permanent basis.

The striker is expected to leave Milan this summer, alongside Alex, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Philippe Mexes. "There will be many departures because players such as Alex, Mexes, Boateng and Balotelli are at the end of their contracts," Berlusconi said of the on-loan Liverpool forward, according to Sky Sports.

Berlusconi's remarks come shortly after Balotelli - who has been omitted from Italy's Euro 2016 squad - admitted he was reluctant to return to Liverpool this summer, having endured an unhappy spell at the club. "In terms of my future I want to stay with Milan because I was not happy at Liverpool and don't want to go back," Balotelli said of his Liverpool future.

Earlier this year, former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers admitted he did not want the Reds to sign Balotelli. "Mario has big talent," he said. "I wasn't thinking I'd be any different in terms of managers who've had issues with him but, at that moment, we didn't really have another option.

"Come the end of the summer we were struggling to get in the type of player we wanted and the ownership thought this was a player I could develop. It didn't quite work for us and it cost us."