Perhaps Mario Balotelli's struggles with Liverpool will have a positive effect on his return to Italy's squad.

That's what Azzurri coach Antonio Conte is hoping for after giving Balotelli a call up for a key European Championship qualifier against Croatia on Sunday.

It's the first time Conte has included Balotelli since taking over from Cesare Prandelli after Italy's first-round elimination from the World Cup.

Conte says "maybe it's even better that Balotelli is arriving during a rough period. I think he'll dedicate himself to the national team."

Since transferring from AC Milan, Balotelli has scored only two goals in 14 appearances for Liverpool — none in the Premier League.

Writing on Facebook, Balotelli says he is "glad to be back on the National Team and proud to represent my country."