Rodgers: Penny has dropped for Balotelli

The Italy striker failed to score in his first 12 Premier League games for the Reds but netted against Tottenham in midweek and has been praised by his manager

Brendan Rodgers believes “the penny has dropped” for Mario Balotelli after two impressive displays in a week.

The €22 million summer signing failed to score in his first 12 Premier League games for the Reds but rose from the bench to bag a late winner against Tottenham in midweek.

He then turned in an impressive display in the FA Cup fourth round win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, with Adam Lallana slotting home the Reds’ winner after Julian Speroni parried a fierce Balotelli free-kick.

The 24-year-old could not add to his three-goal haul for the season at Selhurst Park but Rodgers has praised his willingness to knuckle down in training in a bid to arrest his early-season slump.

“He’s been working really hard in training,” Rodgers told reporters. “I think now the penny has dropped.

“I assess players every day in training. No matter how good they are, it doesn’t matter – you have to put the work in.

“It has been difficult for him because he’s coming into a [playing] style that he’s perhaps never been in before in terms of the intensity and the pressing.

“But one thing he has got, he’s got big quality. In the last couple of games he’s come off the bench and been effective for us.”

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