Mario Balotelli: Liverpool striker will get more chances - Rodgers

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli appeals for a decision
Mario Balotelli has scored two goals in all competitions this season

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli will not be sold in the January transfer window and will be given every chance to fight his way back into the team, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Balotelli was left out of Saturday's FA Cup fourth round goalless draw with Bolton, prompting speculation the 24-year-old's career at Anfield was over.

But Rodgers said on Monday that was "not the case at all".

"It's been a difficult period for him but he's a good boy," added Rodgers.

Balotelli has started just eight league matches this season, his last in a 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea on 8 November, and has been linked with a move to Lazio.external-link

The Italy forward has yet to score a Premier League goal since arriving from AC Milan for £16m last summer.

But Rodgers added: "I've seen some bits this morning suggesting that's him done here. That's not the case at all.

"I've shown in my time here that if players who have been out the fold for various reasons work hard every day in training, and show intensity and focus, then they have every chance of getting back in the side and staying there."

Striker Daniel Sturridge, 25, could make his first club appearance since 31 August in Tuesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Sturridge, who has suffered thigh and calf injuries and underwent a rehabilitation programme in the United States, emerged unscathed from a first training session back with the first team on Sunday.

"He trained very, very well," said Rodgers. "I don't think he'll be 100% when he comes back, that will only come when he's got his game time."

Liverpool travel to Stamford Bridge with the tie evenly poised at 1-1 after the first leg at Anfield on 20 January.