Redknapp: Balotelli must do this if Liverpool fans are to accept him

Balotelli Milan back

If Mario Balotelli does not chase down lost causes, then the Kop may be quick to let him know he needs to improve, implies Jamie Redknapp.

With Daniel Sturridge injured for the foreseeable future, summer signing Mario Balotelli may be under more scrutiny than usual - and former Liverpool midfielder and current Sky Sports analyst Jamie Redknapp has suggested one way in which the fiery Italian can ensure he stays on the right side of the Anfield supporters.

"We know Mario Balotelli has got the ability, we know he turns games in a split second, but it’s a case of sometimes chasing lost causes," offered Redknapp.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has received praise for the manner in which he has improved Sturridge's individual ability from a player threatening to drop from the elite-level into a journeyman's status, to an international standard goal-scorer.

Now, he may have to do the same with Balotelli.

The former AC Milan striker, who Liverpool paid £16 million for, is arguably worth far more, however, he has attracted criticism over the way he conducts himself - with some coaches describing the player as "unmanageable".

If Rodgers can do to Balotelli what he did with Sturridge, then he will have engineered a terrific strike force - but in order to do so, Mario must also be willing to work.

"That’s something we used to question Sturridge [work-rate] about but now you look at him and see how much Rodgers has improved him.

"We knew Sturridge had tremendous technical ability but now he works hard for the team. Balotelli worked hard on his debut, fingers crossed he does it again."

Redknapp continued: "I played at Anfield for 11 years and the crowd will get behind Balotelli. I’ve read this week that they’ve sold thousands and thousands of shirts.

"If he works hard, there’s no doubt Liverpool fans will love him. If he doesn’t, they’ll very quickly let him know he needs to do more, especially with the emphasis on him now Sturridge is out injured."

Liverpool host Aston Villa on Saturday.

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