Brendan Rodgers fully supporting Mario Balotelli

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is in full support of his £16 million striker Mario Balotelli and believes the Italian will be an influential member of the side this season.

Balotelli switched to Anfield from AC Milan this summer and despite making two starting appearances for his new club, the forward is yet to net his first goal for the Reds.

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Rodgers: Balotelli needs time

However, Rodgers believes that the 24-year-old will be a huge success on Merseyside and may need some time to settle in at the club.

Talking at the pre-match press conference before Liverpool's Champions League game against Ludogorets Razgrad, the Northern Irishman said: "Time will tell. The boy is only just in the door.

"The best players enjoy that responsibility and I am sure it is one he is relishing but on the training field he is going to work hard to accept that responsibility knowing he has been brought in here to do a job which is to create and score goals and work hard.

"He was unfortunate he was ill last week and it was only on the morning of the game (Saturday's defeat to Aston Villa) he declared himself fit to play, which shows he really wanted to get out and play here.

"He is also experienced as well. He is arguably one of the most experienced players we have in terms of this competition and international calibre and at club level."


Liverpool enter their first Champions League clash for the first time since 2010 and the squad has very much changed since then.

There is only Steven Gerrard left of that side and many of the current Reds squad yet to make their European Cup debut.

Balotelli sits third on the list for most appearance in the prestigious competition, behind Gerrard and Kolo Toure and Liverpool will be relying on him to be on fire by using that experience.

Daniel Sturridge is currently out on the sidelines and the former Inter Milan striker has been assigned the task to lead the Liverpool forward line.  For the players who will be aside him for Tuesday's game - Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic just three who could start up top - it will be Balotelli's responsibility to aid these players and setlle them into European football.

Now competing against Europe's elite clubs every fixture, it will be tough and it may take some time for the Champions League virgin's to get to grasp with the competition.

However, the Italian will know exactly what to expect and his experience should be a huge benefit.

Good start

Despite not netting for the five times European Cup winners, Balotelli hasn't done all that badly.

On debut against Tottenham Hotspur, he linked well with fellow forwards Sturridge and Sterling, and had a few chances go begging.

In his next game against Aston Villa, Balotelli was left frustrated with a poor lack of service whilst playing as the lone striker. However he looked intelligent with some cool lay-offs and he was trying to play the Liverpool way.

He also showed his maturity levels are rising - despite being on the end of some nasty challenges and kicked by Philippe Senderos, Balotelli failed to react and played the way his manager instructed him to.

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Mario Balotelli
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