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Brendan Rodgers: The criticism of Mario Balotelli has been unfair


Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists striker Mario Balotelli was not signed as a direct replacement for Luis Suarez.

The Italian joined the Reds during the summer transfer window and is yet to make a significant impact in Rodgers' team but the manager says the 24-year-old is working hard and needs time to settle down at Anfield.

"The most important thing for me is Mario's work. The guy's doing his best, he's working really hard," Rodgers said.

"He has come into here, he's a great boy, and I've really enjoyed working with him.

"He wants to improve and be better, but it's not going to happen overnight.

"The criticism of him has been unfair, yes.

"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.

"That's not what's being asked of Mario. He's not going to be what Luis was, he is 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 Mario has got qualities, and he's really focused on making sure that he's concentrating on preparing himself to train and play.

"Eventually, the goals will come for him."

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