Reds boss speaks out on misfiring striker.Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits that summer signing Mario Balotelli is not yet at the level of former Reds star Luis Suarez, the Daily Mirror reports.
The Italian international made the move to Anfield from AC Milan this summer, arriving upfront to help replace the departing Uruguayan, who made the £75m move to Barcelona after a sensational season last year.
However, Balotelli has not got off to the best start on Merseyside, scoring just one goal in four appearances so far and failing to convince some fans that he can be the man to fill the boots of the departing Suarez, who scored 31 goals last season.
Rodgers admits that the 24-year-old is not yet on Suarez’s level, but has urged patience with the player, reminding reporters that Suarez was not world class when he joined the club from Ajax either.
The Northern Irishman says that he feels that Balotelli is potentially world class, but has hinted that he will need to start putting in more effort to keep his consistency and performance level high on a regular basis.
“Suarez elevated himself, that was clear,” he said. “He wasn’t world class when he came in but when he left to go to Barcelona he had put himself in that bracket.
“He did that because of his consistency in scoring goals and keeping his performance level high. World class is about being at the highest level consistently, being at that level in your game consistently. That’s what takes you there.
“I think Mario is potentially world class. You can’t compare Suarez and him, but Mario is coming in as an international striker and he’s a talent, no doubt.”
Liverpool as a whole have struggled this season, and Balotelli’s form may improve as a number of the other new signings find their feet.