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Liverpool's Balotelli has manager seeing red

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has challenged Mario Balotelli to prove he has a long term future at the club.

The striker's been reprimanded after swapping shirts with a Real Madrid player at half time in last night's Champions League match at Anfield.

His actions didn't go down well with the manager or supporters as Mike Hall reports

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Rodgers says Balotelli is no Suarez

Brendan Rodgers still believes that Mario Balotelli will have a positive impact on his side Credit: PA

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted summer signing Mario Balotelli will never match Luis Suarez's Anfield impact.

Rodgers backed the Italy striker to shrug off "unfair" criticism and end his six-game Premier League drought however, despite Balotelli missing another glorious chance in Sunday's 3-2 win at QPR.

The Liverpool boss said Balotelli's early Reds career has been blighted by comparisons with Uruguay forward Suarez, who completed a summer transfer to Barcelona.

Liverpool sneaked to victory in west London courtesy of own goals from Caulker and Richard Dunne, plus a deflected effort from Philippe Coutinho.

Eduardo Vargas twice equalised at the death for the impressive hosts, only for Sterling to force Caulker's own goal and keep QPR at the bottom of the Premier League.

The most important thing for me is his work, the guy's doing his best; he's working really hard.

The criticism of him has been unfair, yes.

And that's because he's probably seen as the direct replacement for Luis, and as I said before, Luis was irreplaceable and a real world-class talent.

– Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool Manager

Balotelli says Gerrard is as good as Pirlo

Mario Balotelli has compared Liverpool Skipper Steven Gerrard to Andrea Pirlo Credit: PA

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli says skipper Steven Gerrard is on a par with Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo.

Balotelli has played alongside Pirlo in the Italian national team and believes his the former England captain is comparable to the Juventus man.

Gerrard is an amazing player. 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.”

– Mario Balotelli, Liverpool FC, speaking to Sport Magazine.
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