This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool are this afternoon closing in on a deal for striker Mario Balotelli after agreeing to pay AC Milan £16million.
The Reds have been granted permission by the Serie A outfit to discuss personal terms with the controversial Italy international, who is now expected to fly to Merseyside.
Balotelli has confirmed to Sky Italia that he expects to imminently complete a transfer as he said: "This will be my last day at Milan.
"Negotiations progressed quickly after Liverpool made their surprise move for the 24-year-old former Manchester City frontman.
Their pursuit of Balotelli represents a remarkable U-turn after the club dismissed any interest in signing him earlier this month.
Liverpool have been searching for a new striker since a deal to sign QPR's Loic Remy collapsed last month after the Frenchman failed a medical.
The Reds enquired about the availability of Monaco's Radamel Falcao, Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Real Madrid's Karim Benzema but were frustrated in their attempts to land a marquee signing.
Brendan Rodgers had also considered signing Samuel Eto'o with the veteran striker a free agent after parting company with Chelsea at the end of last season.
However, the Cameroon international was always viewed as a last resort and Liverpool have been actively pursuing other options. That extensive search has led them to Balotelli, who is set to return to the Premier League 18 months after Man City sold him to Milan for around £16million.
Then City boss Roberto Mancini showed Balotelli the door after growing tired of the striker's antics.
He was involved in numerous incidents during his three years at the Etihad Stadium, including setting fireworks off in his house and throwing a dart at a youth-team player.
Balotelli also clashed frequently with team-mates and his manager on the training ground, running up a £340,000 fine.
He scored 30 goals in 80 games in all competitions for City but only managed three in 20 matches during his final season there. Since moving to Milan he has scored 30 goals in 54 appearances and has 13 goals in 33 games for Italy.
If Balotelli signs for the Reds it promises to be a major test of Rodgers' renowned man-management skills. The Northern Irishman turned Luis Suarez into a world class performer and has helped the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling realise their potential.
Rodgers prides himself on the team spirit and camaraderie he has established over the past two years and will want guarantees from Balotelli that he will toe the line before any transfer is rubber-stamped.