Former Liverpool forward El-Hadji Diouf had warned Mario Balotelli not to join the Reds and has blamed "jealous" Steven Gerrard for the striker's failure to shine at Anfield.

The 26-year-old was signed for the Merseyside club by their former manager Brendan Rodgers as a replacement for Luis Suarez in 2014. The Italian international struggled in his first season, which saw the Northern Irishman allow him to join AC Milan on a season-long loan last summer.

Rodgers was sacked from his Liverpool post and replaced by Jurgen Klopp last October. On Balotelli's return to Anfield earlier this summer, the former Borussia Dortmund manager decided against including the striker in his plans for the 2016/17 season, which saw him join Ligue 1 outfit Nice on deadline day.

Mino Raiola, the player's agent slammed Klopp for his treatment towards his client. Balotetlli labelled his move to Liverpool as the "worst mistake of my life". Diouf, who was with the Reds from 2002 to 2005, claims Gerrard's alleged selfish attitude was behind his and the ex-Manchester City striker's failure to shine for the Anfield club.

"I told him not to go to Liverpool. It wasn't made for him, that things couldn't go well with Gerrard, who has never had his talent and then said negative things about him," Diouf told L'Equipe, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

"Gerrard is a jealous man who doesn't like men of character. Mario is a good person that you should listen to. He's not a guy who's going to cause problems in the dressing room.

"There are a lot of things that have been made up about him. People tell tales about him, but they're often a load of rubbish."

"Gerrard was jealous of me back then (in 2002 when Diouf moved to Liverpool from Lens) as I had the world at my feet. There's no one more selfish... he doesn't care about anyone else.

"Gerrard would rather Liverpool lost and he scored. The old Liverpool guys can't stand him. I won't even start with [Jamie] Carragher."

Gerrard ended his time at Liverpool and left his boyhood club as a free agent after the end of the 2014/15 season. He joined Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy after leaving the Premier League outfit.