By Liverpool correspondent Cam Downes

Mario Balotelli is not in the Liverpool squad that faces Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Monday night.

 

Football Insider sources have learned that the Italian striker has not travelled to Wales due to an illness and has been left on Merseyside to recuperate in time for Sunday’s showdown against Manchester United.

Balotelli would not have started for Brendan Rodgers’ team had he been fully fit but he had been pencilled in for a place on the substitutes’ bench for a match Liverpool need to win to prevent United and Arsenal pulling away from them in the increasingly competitive chase for a top-four finish.

The Merseysiders will haul themselves within two points of fourth-placed United if they manage to defeat the Swans.

Daniel Sturridge is expected to lead the Liverpool attack at the Liberty Stadium while Balotelli recovers at home.

The Italian has endured a frustrating season at Liverpool, scoring just four goals in 24 appearances and only one in the Premier League, the winner against Tottenham five weeks ago.