sport

Liverpool near Balotelli deal

Mario Balotelli's 16million move from AC Milan to Liverpool has moved a step closer after the striker spent Friday evening at Liverpool's Melwood training ground.

Balotelli was there to have a medical and discuss personal terms after the two clubs agreed a fee earlier in the week, and the deal could be finalised over the weekend, albeit not in time for him to make his debut against former club Manchester City on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers refused to be drawn on whether the club wanted a behaviour clause included in the Italian's contract.

Balotelli's discipline on and off the field was questioned during his stay with City from 2010 to 2013 and it has been widely reported Liverpool were demanding a 'good conduct clause' in his contract.

"I think every player has a code of conduct for the people and the professionals at work," said Rodgers.

"We have quite an extensive code for players and staff. We haven't got a specific one for anyone individually. It covers across the professional group of people here both staff and players.

"We have a fantastic environment and a great culture. I think over the last two years it was very important for us to build here.

"There will be nothing that will ever shake that or to provoke it in anyway. That is something I will always protect. The environment here is fantastic.

"We've got a real learning environment here for players. And you can see over the years that lots of players have improved and developed."

Rodgers continued to field questions on Balotelli, who reportedly said farewell to AC Milan's players and coaching staff on Thursday, but did concede he is still in the market for a striker.

"We don't have too much to do to be honest," he said. "We have done the bulk of the work, but we have always said that we are looking for another striker.

"If we can do a deal, with the market the way it is that makes it more difficult, but if we can do a deal for any more players then that is what we shall do.

"But come the end of August, I think I will be very happy with the team and the squad that I have."

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has mixed feelings about Balotelli's impending arrival at Anfield, telling Sky Sports: "They definitely need a striker, there's no doubt about that.

"At the moment, they only have Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert - it looks like Fabio Borini is going to move on - and you need strikers.

"Would he be the final piece of the jigsaw? Would he make the starting XI if everyone was fit and firing? Who knows?

"Daniel Sturridge has got 36 goals in 50 games for Liverpool and at this moment, he is the main man up front.

"Would Brendan then accommodate another striker, whoever that may be, like he did with Luis Suarez?"