Mario Balotelli
Balotelli will be wearing his preferred number 45 shirt at LiverpoolReuters

Liverpool have officially announced the signing of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan for a reported £16 million fee.

The 24-year-old Italy striker, who will be wearing his preferred number 45 number shirt at Anfield, has penned a "long-term" deal at Anfield.

"Liverpool can confirm they have completed the signing of Italy striker Mario Balotelli, subject to registration," read a statement in the club's official website.

The former Manchester City striker, who has returned to the Premier League after a short 20-month absence, expressed his delight at having signed for the Reds.

"I'm very happy," Balotelli told the club's official website. "We've been talking about coming here and now I'm happy to be here. Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England and the football is very good here. It's a great team with young players, and that's why I came here."

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who was desperate to add a new striker to the squad following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, feels that the former Inter Milan striker is a "world-class talent" and his experience at the "highest level" will be a big help for the Reds.

"There is no doubting Mario's ability; he is a world-class talent and someone who, for such a young age, has vast experience of playing at the very highest level," Rodgers told Liverpool's official website. "He has scored goals in the Barclays Premier League, in Italy, in the Champions League and for his country at international level."

And the Northern Irishman is confident that Balotelli will further improve and form a strong partnership with Daniel Sturridge at Liverpool.

"I believe we have the infrastructure, culture and environment to get the best out of him and help him achieve his true potential. We are a strong group here, committed to hard work and he will benefit from being around it.

"I am looking forward to working with him and helping him learn more, improve and progress as a player. I'm sure the supporters will make him feel very welcome."

Liverpool have also reportedly added a "behavioural clause" in the Italy striker's contract to make sure he does not get involved in any controversies during his second spell in England.

Balotelli, who scored 14 goals in 30 Serie A games for Milan last season, has become Liverpool's ninth summer signing following the captures of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi, who has been sent back on loan to Lille, Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno.

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