Toure expects Balotelli to push on

Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has no doubt team-mate Mario Balotelli is one of the best players in the world and is backing the striker to go on a scoring run following his goal in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup win over Swansea.

On an eventful evening for the maverick frontman, Balotelli helped his side secure a dramatic 2-1 comeback victory in the fourth-round tie at Anfield, notching their equaliser in the 86th minute – only seven minutes after his introduction as a substitute.

With it being just his second goal in 12 games since his move to Liverpool and first in nine, the close-range finish was a welcome boost for Balotelli, although he was also involved in a couple of moments of controversy.

One was an off-the-ball confrontation with Swans midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and there were further words exchanged between the pair after the final whistle as they headed off the pitch.

Another came pre-match, when Balotelli was sent away from a warm-up exercise by Reds coach Mike Marsh, something Liverpool assistant boss Colin Pascoe later stressed had happened because of no issue other than the player having suffered a minor knee problem. As for the man himself, Balotelli expressed his relief at finding the net again with a message on his official Twitter account simply reading: “Finally!”

And Toure, who also played with the 24-year-old at Manchester City, has every confidence Balotelli will soon be celebrating more goals.

“For strikers, goals are like food,” said Toure. “Mario needs to feed himself by scoring goals. Now he’s got that one he will do that now, definitely. Getting that goal will be fantastic for his confidence. He is a great player, he has just been lacking goals.

“Mario is my mate and I’ve tried to help him like (Liverpool captain) Stevie (Gerrard), the manager (Brendan Rodgers) and everyone else in the dressing room. We all know he’s a top player. I always tell him ’you need to get out there and show you are one of the best players in the world’.”


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