Liverpool captain Gerrard praises Balotelli effort

Steven Gerrard has said more than the goal scored by Mario Balotelli in Liverpool’s Champions League win over Ludogorets, it was the work rate of the Italy international that most caught his eye, according to ESPN.

Balotelli opened the scoring as the Reds played their first Champions League game since the 2008-09 season, only for Ludogorets to snatch a late equaliser. Gerrard’s penalty, in injury time, diverted the points to Anfield and after the match the captain as fulsome in his praise of the striker.

“You’ve got to give him credit – he’s come in and everyone’s waiting for him to get that first goal,” said Gerrard. “It never went his way for long periods tonight but the sign of a good goalscorer is to be relentless, keep going, keep going to the end because it only takes one chance.

“When you’ve got that ability, it only takes one chance,” he continued. “But I think more important than the goal was his work rate. I think all the fans and me and the team were waiting to see how he’d fit in and I thought he worked his socks off. That will do for me.”

Balotelli previously spent time in the Premier League with Manchester City and was once sent off against Liverpool while playing for the current league champions. He returned to English football this summer, signing from Milan.

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