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Liverpool FC manager hoping Mario Balotelli can replicate Luis Suarez

“When I first spoke to him, first met him, he had this keenness to learn"

Brendan Rodgers backing Balotelli to be a Liverpool hero

Liverpool claimed a narrow win against Ludogorets on Tuesday night to enjoy a winning start in the Champions League, with Mario Balotelli opening his account for the Reds after recently completing a deadline day move from Milan.

Balotelli had a chequered time of things at Manchester City where he was capable of brilliance and stupidity in equal measures, with the Italian having now apparently matured after his first stint in England.

Brendan Rodgers is glad to have the forward in his ranks and hopes that the forward can make his mark at the Merseyside club in the same way that Luis Suarez managed in a relatively short space of time.

“Mario has really looked into the history of the club. He understands the great strikers of the past,” said Rodgers.

“We’ve spoken about Suarez and his time here but if you’re clever, you’ll learn and remember he’s still young and still learning the game and he still has this hunger to do well.

“When I first spoke to him, first met him, he had this keenness to learn.

“Against Ludogorets, you could see he put his body on the line. He needs to do more of that, that will come as he gets fitter, and then getting into good positions will allow him to score goals.

“That’s going to be very important. The crowd demand that because the players who’ve been here in the past in that position have been non-stop and he’s becoming attuned to that.”

He added: “He’s well in tune with the history, not only of the club but of Liverpool.

“He’s prepared to work. You saw his work-rate, and okay the ball bounced off him a couple of times and we’re trying to improve him in the transitions so that when he makes a mistake he can go after it, but I think you can see what he’s trying to put in for the team. He needs to do more of it, and it will come.

“I think in general as a coach you will always have players who are high maintenance and players who are low maintenance for different reasons.

“I’ll spend a lot of time with a lot of the players but he’s a good boy and I think you can see he’s prepared to work.”

All odds were correct at time of posting.