HEAD-TO-HEAD: Balotelli v Lukaku - Who has made the better start?

Mario Balotelli Italy

We compare the start to the season that Liverpool's Mario Balotelli and Everton's Romelu Lukaku have made.

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Two strikers carrying the goalscoring hopes of their team on Merseyside meet on Saturday, and they will be looking to kick-start what has been a rather indifferent start to life this season.

Liverpool's Mario Balotelli and Everton's Romelu Lukaku were their respective club's marquee signings this summer, and they are both carrying a weight of expectation of their shoulders. 

Balotelli was brought in at Anfield to try to plug the void left by Luis Suarez, whilst Lukaku became Everton's record singing this summer and has been identified as the man to spearhead their attack for the years to come. 

So far, neither have reached top form, but they will be aiming to hit the back of the net on Saturday. 

Everton and Liverpool have both made poor starts to the season and they will determined to give themselves a major boost by picking up the win against their local rivals. 

To do so, their two key strikers will need to be at the peak of their performance, and it looks as if Lukaku is more likely to score than Balotelli. 

  GoalsGoal AssistShots GAMEShots on targetChances created GAMETouches GAMEPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Romelu Lukaku 2 1 3.2 31.25% 0.4 44 78.08% 5 413
Mario Balotelli 0 0 3.3 30% 1 32.66 77.58% 3 222

The Everton man has already had more influence on his team than Balotelli has in his initial spell at Anfield.

Of course, this can be explained by the fact that Balotelli is still settling into his new surroundings whereas Lukaku enjoyed a loan spell at Goodison Park last season, but Rodgers will still have expected to see more from his £16 million purchase.

The Italian in a match-winner on his day, but he is yet to score or create a goal in his first three Premier League appearances for the Reds.

Indeed, he is being outperformed by Lukaku, who is showing a greater ability to bring others into play than him, rather surprisingly.

Although the Belgian has already proven to be a natural goalscorer, his link-up play is a facet of his game which he could do with improving, but he is still holding a higher passing accuracy than his Liverpool counterpart.

He is also considerably more involved for his team than Balotelli has been so far and if the Reds are to consolidate their place in the top four this season, then they will need the former AC Milan star to start stepping up. 

There will be no better time for him to do it than Saturday, but he will have to ensure that it is his goalscoring exploits that hit the headlines rather than his much documented, fiery temperament in what is sure to be a highly-charged contest.  

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