New Liverpool signing is perfect Luis Suarez replacement, claims Italian hero

Mario Balotelli Italy

Gianfranco Zola believes that Mario Balotelli has what it takes to successfully replace Luis Suarez at Liverpool.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had an almost impossible task of replacing Luis Suarez this summer following his £75 million move to Barcelona.

The Uruguayan international striker scored 31 Premier League goals for the Reds last season, and his presence in the Anfield dressing room raised the levels of performances of his teammates.

In a bid to replace him, Rodgers embarked on a summer spending spree, bringing in a total of eight permanent signings, with one of those being the £16m acquisition of Mario Balotelli.

The controversial striker has a mixed reputation in the Premier League – renowned for both moments of brilliance and foolhardiness.

Former Italian hero Gianfranco Zola, however, is firmly in the brilliance camp and is backing his compatriot to be a huge success on Merseyside.

“The move is perfect because Liverpool lost Luis Suarez and they needed to replace him with someone as good him,” he told TalkSport. “Mario Balotelli is technically an excellent player. He knows how to score goals and he knows to play with the rest of his team.”

“The only doubts you have with Mario is whether he will be accepted by his team-mates and that’s the question mark all of us will have. If he improves his attitude he can be the perfect player for Liverpool. I saw the game he played against Spurs and not only was his performance good, so was his attitude.”

Balotelli spent two-and-a-half years at Premier League title rivals Manchester City, scoring 30 goals in 80 appearances in all competitions in the process.

The 24-year-old was called up to the Italian World Cup squad in Brazil and scored the winner during the Azzurri's 2-1 victory over England in the group stage.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch