Collymore - Balotelli: 'The antithesis of Suarez or Sturridge'

Ex-Liverpool striker Stan Collymore was impressed with Javier Manquillo, but disappointed in Mario Balotelli.

Former Liverpool striker - and now football pundit - Stan Collymore has been picking apart the Reds’ 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had a tough ask on his hands over the summer, of course, as he was tasked with finding a suitable replacement for Liverpool's superhero Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan international was key to the Reds’ huge improvement last season and his 31 goals were never going to be easy to replace.

Instead of blowing the £75 million received from the Suarez sale on one or two star players, Rodgers opted to add numbers to his squad as he bids to juggle a Premier League campaign with a return to Europe's top competition.

Amongst the nine players to join the Merseysiders this summer, six were in the starting line-up for Saturday's clash at home to Aston Villa, including loan-signing Javier Manquillo. The impressive right-back joined from Atletico Madrid and has proven to be an astute choice as competition to Glen Johnson.

Posting on Twitter and Sportsyapper, Collymore applauded the 20-year-old's willingness to get forward and offer much-needed width.

'I like Manquillo, offers natural width, always available, good deliveries', he wrote.

One player who left Collymore disappointed, however, was former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli. 'Balotelli movement poor. The antithesis of Suarez or Sturridge', Collymore said.

This may be a bit harsh, however, as the following Opta statistics show:

  TeamPosTotal Scoring AttAccurate PassAccurate LayoffsBall RecoveryDispossessedAppsMins
Mario Balotelli Liverpool FW 2 19 3 1 0 1 71

The controversial Liverpool striker did have two shots on goal, and linked up well with his teammates by providing 19 accurate passes and three accurate layoffs.

In possession, he never gave the ball away or overran any attempted dribbles, although there's still room for an improvement with his work-rate, and Balotelli will need to work harder to close defenders down.

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