Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has commended his captain Steven Gerrard and put him in the same class as Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
Balotelli switched AC Milan for Anfield this summer, for a fee of £16 million and despite only making eight appearances for his new club, the 24-year-old has instantly made a positive judgement on the Liverpool skipper. So much so, he has compared him to fellow countryman Pirlo, one of the world's best midfielders.
Balotelli hails Gerrard
"Gerrard is an amazing player," Balotelli told Sport magazine. “I had really not seen much of him before this season, apart from for England, but wow. I think of him as being at the same level as Pirlo.
“Vision, technique, but he is powerful as well. Stevie can do anything. It’s going to be very difficult for the team to find another player like him in the future.”
Although Balotelli has only played for Liverpool a matter of weeks, the pair have already had a solid start together. Gerrard is the type of player who constantly forms a relationship with forwards on Merseyside. He had an outstanding partnership with Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez, all of whom were deadly in front of goal.
Already we have saw signs that the former England captain could continue his form with Liverpool's latest addition. When playing deeper, Gerrard has hit many a long ball to both the feet and the chest of the Italian, which has started an attack for the Reds.
However, it was in Liverpool's last fixture against West Bromwich Albion that highlighted how well the pair play together. With 15 minutes left on the clock, Brazilian midfielder Lucas entered the game replacing Philippe Coutinho. This saw Gerrard play a further role forward, taking on the number ten job, just off Balotelli.
The pair linked up on several occasions playing neat one-two's and causing problems for the Baggies' defence.
To compare Gerrard to Pirlo is a massive statement. The Juventus midfielder is one of, if not, the best player in the world at playing the deeper role. Now at 35-years-old, Pirlo has took a further role back than what he once player, and arguably does it even better than his former position.
He pulls the strings in the midfield for both club and country, so much so that he was identified as Italy's main threat before the World Cup.
Assessing Gerrard's performances in his new role, he is not quite in the same category as Pirlo. Gerrard has played too deep at times this campaign, and on many occasions he can be spotted level with the centre-backs when on the ball.