Liverpool star tips 'world-class' Balotelli to replace Suarez

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has backed new signing Mario Balotelli to effectively replace Luis Suarez at Anfield.

Luis Suarez left Liverpool for Barcelona last month for around £75 million, and the Reds initially struggled to line up a new striker.

Reported moves for Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao came to little while the Reds pulled the plug on an £8.5 million move for Queens Park Rangers star Loic Remy after concerns about the Frenchman's medical.

Liverpool signed Rickie Lambert in the close season, but the England international was added with the idea of being backup to Daniel Sturridge and Suarez.

However, the Reds moved decisively last week to sign Italy international Balotelli for a cut-price £16 million, and the fiery forward arrives with a reputation as a gifted yet temperamental talent.

England international Sterling thinks that his new teammate will make up for the loss of Suarez, who finished as the PFA and FWA Player of the Season last term after netting 31 goals for the five-time European Cup winners.

In an interview with Four-Four-Two, the 19-year-old said: "[Balotelli’s] a massive player. The manager has brought him in and it’s exciting times for Liverpool.

"This is a step forward after losing Luis [Suarez] at the start of the season. He [Balotelli] has come in to try and fill the void left by Luis and I think he has the qualities to do so. I’m looking forward to working with him and I think he can be an important player for the club.

"What will he bring? Goals. Obviously we lost a goalscorer in Luis so it’s something we’re going to need to replace. He’ll also bring a presence on the pitch, especially up front, as part of our attack. Everyone knew he was coming in and it’s an exciting time for the club, bringing in another world-class striker."

Balotelli is one of nine new arrivals for Brendan Rodgers' side, and Liverpool's summer has seen them embark on the biggest spending spree in their history.

Javi Manquillo, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Lambert and Balotelli have all arrived at Anfield, while Divock Origi will join next season following his loan spell with Lille, and the Reds have splashed close to £120 million on their new-look squad.

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