Balotelli's very important for us: Mancini

The 22-year-old proved what he can really do with a starring role in Italy’s run to the European Championship final, capped by a superb two-goal display against Germany in the last four.

Mario Balotelli

Due to Euro 2012, Balotelli was one of the later players to return for pre-season training and didn’t feature in the Community Shield win over Chelsea a fortnight ago and was a substitute as the champions began their EPL title defence against Southampton last week.

There could be an opportunity for him to return to the side at Liverpool on Sunday, though, following injury to Sergio Aguero.

Mancini said: “Mario has a big responsibility here. For us he is an important player. We spent a lot of money for him. He has done very well for Manchester City and in two years he has won the FA Cup and the Premier League. I think he did well. But I agree if Mario plays always like he played in the European Championship it would be better.”

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