Liverpool added to their attacking options up front by recruiting Italy international Mario Balotelli from AC Milan in August 2014.

The enigmatic forward became the club's ninth acquisition of that summer transfer window, returning to English football after 18 months in his homeland.

By the time of his arrival at Anfield, Balotelli had already amassed 33 caps for Italy and represented his country at three international tournaments - the 2012 European Championship, 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He was born in Palermo on August 12, 1990 to Ghanaian settlers Thomas and Rose Barwuah, but was taken in by the Balotelli family before he turned three after a lengthy spell in hospital for an intestinal problem.

At nine he joined lower-league side Lumezzane and was handed his debut with the first team when he was just 15. A year later he was snapped up by Inter Milan on loan, with the Serie A giants buying him outright in 2007.

Having netted twice on his full debut in a 4-1 Coppa Italia win over Reggina, in his first season with the Serie A giants Balotelli scored seven goals in 15 appearances, including a brace against Juventus in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals and an important strike in the 2008 Supercoppa final triumph over Roma.

His contributions grew by the season and, at the age of 19, he was transferred to Manchester City for £24m, where he was reunited with Roberto Mancini.

The instinctive attacker won the 2010 Golden Boy award, given to the most outstanding young talent in Europe, and when the club won their first trophy in 35 years it was inspired by a Man of the Match performance from Balotelli against Stoke City in the 2011 FA Cup final.

Mancini's charges ended 2011-12 with the silverware they most craved, with Balotelli supplying the assist for Sergio Aguero's 94th-minute strike against Queens Park Rangers, which clinched the championship.

In total, Mario netted 30 goals in 80 appearances for the Manchester outfit before, in January 2013, a return to Italy was arranged and he was unveiled as an AC Milan player.

He became a prolific force during his time with the Rossoneri and took that form onto the international stage too, notching key goals in crucial games.

Balotelli's brace in the opening 40 minutes of Italy's 2-1 semi-final victory against Germany at Euro 2012 was one of the stand-out individual displays of his career.

By 24, his honours included the Champions League, three Serie A titles, the Coppa Italia, the Premier League and an FA Cup.

It was then that Liverpool swooped to bring Mario's magic to Merseyside, agreeing a deal with Milan as the 2014-15 campaign got underway and Brendan Rodgers' team sought to build on their second-place finish the previous season.

During a difficult year for the side, Balotelli made 28 appearances and scored four goals - all of his strikes coming at Anfield.

In August 2015, Liverpool confirmed that the forward had completed a temporary return to AC Milan, heading there for one season on loan.