Liverpool boss Rodgers defends Balotelli after draw

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Mario Balotelli despite failing to break his Premier League duck for the club against Hull City on Saturday, the Guardian has reported.

Roundly criticised following his lack of goals and a perceived lack of effort since signing from Milan in August as well as his decision to swap shirts with Pepe at half time in the 3-0 Champions League defeat on Wednesday, Balotelli was allowed to keep his place in the starting XI by Rodgers, but despite having several chances, he was unable to convert any of them as the Tigers left Anfield with a point.

His best chance came in the dying seconds when impressive substitute Philippe Coutinho delivered a fine cross, only for the Italian to miss the ball completely with the goal gaping. However, his contribution was pleasing for Rodgers, who said: “Maybe he thought he wasn’t going to play today, and in the circumstances he did well. He’s working hard and doing his best, he keeps getting into the right areas.

“He had one or two big chances in the game and he probably needs a goal to keep his confidence up. I’ve worked with him in training and I don’t think there is any danger of him losing his appetite, he always wants to train, always wants to play. But strikers get their energy and their confidence from seeing the ball hit the back of the net.”

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