Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli has pulled a hamstring while training with his national team. Getty Images/AFP

Liverpool have received a massive injury blow in the form of Mario Balotelli, who has pulled a hamstring while training with the Italian national team and has returned to Anfield, in doubt for their upcoming fixtures in the Premier League.

The striker has been in woeful form at Anfield and has failed to open his account in the Premier League thus far, but has received the nod from Brendan Rodgers to lead their attack.

The Italian's absence will be adequately filled by Daniel Sturridge, who has been earmarked to fill the void left by the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

Sturridge has been out of the squad for a long time owing to injury and his absence has had a telling effect on Liverpool's fortunes. The club have failed to make any progress in the league, especially with a lack of goals up front.

The former Chelsea striker's arrival will give them the much needed pace in behind and someone with a natural ability to finish.

The Reds have struggled to live up to expectations this season, having set the benchmark last year by finishing second, only two points adrift of securing their first league title in over two decades.

Suarez was the architect behind their brilliance and his departure has had a domino effect on the level of performance, with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling failing to live up to their billing.

Rodgers will be hoping that the injury to Balotelli will give the striker ample time to mull over his deficiencies and create a plan which will help him reach the heights he scaled during his time at Manchester City. The Italian was prolific when he came into the scene, but fell apart owing to lack of proper management and antics which derailed his development.