By Italy correspondent Gianluigi Carrozzini

Mario Balotelli will be sidelined until next year as he prepares to undergo groin surgery, Football Insider sources understand.

The Liverpool striker, who is on a season-long loan to AC Milan, will travel to Munich for an operation on his inflamed groin.

Balotelli has been hampered by the problem in recent weeks and Milan medics, in consultation with Liverpool staff, have convinced him that surgery is the best option.

The 25-year-old is expected to be out for up to six weeks, which rules him out until the new year.

It is a blow for Milan, who have not seen the best of Balotelli in his second spell at the club. The Italy international has scored just one goal, and made just four appearances, for the club this season.