Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli has failed to live up to expectationsGetty Images

Mario Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola has urged the Italian to step up his game and prove his worth rather than get shunted out of the team and be put on the market for sale yet again.

The 24-year-old has previously been employed in Inter Milan, Manchester City and AC Milan before making the move to Liverpool last summer.

However, the striker has failed to live up to his promise and has been kept on the bench at Anfield, where Brendan Rodgers has made it clear that he does not fit into the style of football at Merseyside.

Balotelli was left out of the squad that played against Bolton in the fourth round of the FA Cup and only came on as a late substitute against Chelsea in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup, which Liverpool lost 1-0 owing to an extra time goal from Branislav Ivanovic.

However, his agent Raiola is not willing to give up on him so easily and has urged him to train harder and leave Anfield for more than thrice of what he was bought for or die trying.

"Balotelli is very disappointed with himself, he's going through a bad time like he's never had before," Raiola said.

"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. You only leave Liverpool (valued) at 60-70 million (euros - £45m), 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.

"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.

"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. 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," he concluded.