Joey Barton slams Mario Balotelli on Twitter

Queens Park Rangers midfielder has criticised Liverpool's new star striker by claiming he is a "myth".

Liverpool may have progressed into the next round of the League Cup after a climactic penalty 14-13 penalty shoot-out victory after a 2-2 extra-time draw with Middlesbrough, but the team - and Mario Balotelli in particular - have not been exempt from criticism.

The Italian striker, a £16 million recruit from AC Milan toward the end of the transfer window earlier in the summer, has already featured in a hat-trick of Premier League games and made one Champions League appearance, but the 24-year-old returned just one goal from 17 shots in both competitions.

His performances are currently under the microscope and, as he failed to shine in this evening's Anfield victory over lower league opposition, the critics have once again sharpened their knives - with old foe Joey Barton taking a swipe.

The two clashed during a Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City match two years ago (pictured above, with Balotelli being restrained after an altercation with an out of sight Barton) and the Englishman has labeled the physically-adept striker "the biggest myth in world football."

He said on Twitter: "Fair play to him, he's had everyone's trolleys down. [But] people now realise just how good Luis Suarez. I mean, how do you replace that quality? Certainly not with Mario Balotelli."

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