Brendan Rodgers: Mario Balotelli doesn't suit Liverpool style

LIVERPOOL -- Mario Balotelli's game is not suited to the high-tempo style of play Liverpool are looking to recapture, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Balotelli is available for the Boxing Day Premier League trip to Burnley, having recovered from a groin problem and served a one-match ban imposed by the Football Association for a social media post deemed to contain offensive references.

However, Rodgers has indicated that the former AC Milan striker will not be restored to the starting lineup because he does not fit into Liverpool's current tactical system.

The Reds boss has recently adopted a 3-4-3 formation designed to give added potency to his side's attack after a poor first four months of the season and has seen displays improve since abandoning the 4-2-3-1 setup he used for much of the campaign.

He has switched to a system of three centre-backs, while using Raheem Sterling as a central striker, and was rewarded with an impressive attacking performance on Sunday as his side drew 2-2 with Arsenal in the Premier League.

Asked how Balotelli might fit into the new system, Rodgers said: "I think we've seen that it's not really his game.

"Having worked with Mario during the time he's been here, we've seen that he's a player who better in and around the box, so that level of intensity and pressing isn't a part of his game, but you try to get the best out of the players that you have, and the qualities that they have, so that's something that we'll focus on.

"The most important thing is that he's now available after his ban. That adds another player to our squad, especially with Fabio Borini not being available because of suspension."

Balotelli has yet to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool, having arrived from AC Milan for 16 million pounds in August.

His long-term future at the club is uncertain, particularly with Rodgers making clear that a high-intensity game is the style he ultimately wants to play.

The manager adopted a more pragmatic approach in the matches that followed a 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Nov. 23 as he attempted to find wins to improve the club's league position, but his long-term aim is to replicate the fast-moving football that carried the team to a second-place finish in last season's Premier League.

He said: "We're at our best when our game's aggressive. We've had to adapt this year in terms of how we've played because of the personnel.

"In the period after the Crystal Palace game, we needed to get some results. We needed to steady the ship and get some solid performances in, but the boys know that, in the long term, that isn't going to take us to where we want to go.

"It certainly wouldn't have taken us to the point where we nearly won the league last season so, for us, it was about trying to find a solution in order to get back that intensity and tempo to our game, which is critical to how we work, and I think we're seeing that.

"That's the key for us -- that real aggressive pressure at the top end of the field. It gives us the platform to go and dominate the ball.

"There's been a lot of work gone into that. We haven't just stumbled across this system. A lot of thinking time has gone into how we can maximise the players we have in order to be as close to our game model as we would like.

"In the last three games, the performance has been much closer. We hope it will continue in that way. We have to work very hard. Players are now starting to adapt to the club, and the performances will get better, I believe."