Rodgers: Balotelli not the new Suarez

October 21, 2014
Football - UEFA Competitions - Bet Now at Bet365

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers remains confident that Mario Balotelli will be a success at Anfield, but insists he is not the new Luis Suarez.

Balotelli has come in for heavy criticism after starting his Reds career with just one goal in nine games, but Rodgers is happy with the efforts of the Italy striker, who will get a chance to shine against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

Rodgers claimed: "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.

"And that's not what's being asked of Mario. He's not going to be what Suarez was - he's a totally different type of player.

"Luis played on the shoulder, we freed up the team for him for a couple of years to exploit his qualities. Now we have to have a different dynamic and type of game.

"But he has got qualities and he's really focused on making sure that he's concentrating on preparing himself to train and play. Then eventually the goals will come for him."

While much of the focus for the Reds will fall on Balotelli on Wednesday evening at Anfield, current European champions Real arrive armed with a strikeforce the equal of any in the world.

Gareth Bale will miss out due to a leg muscle problem, but the Spanish giants still have Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema at their disposal.

Ronaldo has been in astonishing form so far this season, scoring in each of his last ten games, a run which includes two hat-tricks and four in a 5-1 La Liga win over Elche.

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