PHOTOS: Balotelli shows off new hairstyle, Rodgers takes free kicks as Liverpool prepare for Everton clash

The Reds were training ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby.

You can trust Mario Balotelli to attract publicity ahead of a big game.

This time, ahead of Saturday's vital Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, the £16 million striker has adopted a fresh new hairstyle for photographers to aim their lenses at.

Not only that but the Italian was his usual cheery self in training on Thursday. Looking at him, you would never tell the Reds were facing one of their biggest tests of the season.

Indeed, after amassing just six points from five games (two wins and three defeats) in the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers' side are in desperate need of an emphatic result this weekend. It just so happens, however, that Everton themselves have only earned five points from their opening five league fixtures.

That doesn't mean Saturday's game at Anfield will be any less intense, though, as both sides vie for three much-needed points. As a consequence, it wasn't all laughs on Thursday afternoon, with Balotelli and the rest of the Liverpool team taking part in some concentrated drills.

The Italian's stunning free kick from distance showed that his focus was in check when it needed to be. And even Rodgers tried his hand at a few set-pieces, although that won't necessarily help his side at the weekend...

Here are the best images from the training session; enjoy!

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