Balotelli competition will be good for Sturridge – Rodgers

The England international has been in fine goalscoring form at Anfield and his manager does not expect that to change, despite the arrival of another top-class striker

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says the imminent arrival of Mario Balotelli will have a positive impact on Daniel Sturridge.

The Reds have been on the lookout for a star striker following Luis Suarez’s departure to Barcelona and their search appears to be over, with enigmatic Milan frontman Balotelli on the verge of sealing a transfer to Anfield.

Balotelli has led the line at Inter, Manchester City and Milan, and at international level with Italy, raising doubts over Sturridge’s status at Liverpool, despite scoring 36 goals in 50 appearances since joining from Chelsea in January 2013.

However, Rodgers stressed the importance of the England international to his plans and is adamant another fine partnership can be forged on Merseyside after Sturridge’s exploits alongside Suarez.

“I have spoken to Daniel about how important he is to the team,” Rodgers told reporters ahead of Monday’s trip to defending champions City.

“The confidence I have in him has been shown in his performances and goals – 36 in 50 – and you are not doing that if you are not happy with your life and happy with your football.

“I have said repeatedly that Daniel is a top talent, but we need to have more than one top talent in here. But he is a big player for us and will remain to be.”

Rodgers added: “The dynamics are important but I don’t worry because if you are a top player with a top mind then you want other top players.

“If you are a top player and looking at another top player coming in then you will be thinking, ‘He can help us.’ A top player with a top mentality responds to the competition.

“We can also play a diamond. We played that eight times last year and won seven, and we flipped to that against Southampton. We can change systems and I need that flexibility.

“Also, if you look at Daniel’s injury record, then he has missed a number of weeks through being injured. I need to ensure I have got the replacements if they are not on the pitch at the same time.”

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