Rodgers talks up partnership between Gerrard and Balotelli

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes that Steven Gerrard can bring the best out of Mario Balotelli.

Brendan Rodgers has been encouraged by the link-up that Mario Balotelli and Steven Gerrard showed during Liverpool's match with West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

Liverpool won the game 2-1, with Gerrard moving into a more advanced role in the latter stages of the match, and the manager was clearly impressed by the impact that he had.

Although the experienced England international played in a box-to-box role for much of his Anfield career, he has occupied a deep-lying position in the Reds' midfield in recent times, but he was able to show off his forward thinking qualities on Saturday.

Gerrard's partnership with Fernando Torres in former times at Liverpool will go down as one of the greatest midfielder-striker combinations in Premier League history and Rodgers is clearly hoping that his captain can link-up similarly well with Balotelli. 

"You could see his quality and his ability to combine with Balotelli straight away," he said to the club's official site.

"Steven is a player who makes the game look simple and Mario knows he is playing with one of the greats of the game. Mario is a guy who needs certain types of passes and Steven is the sort of player who can provide them."

"He definitely added something to our game in that position, though I feel he has been outstanding in the deeper position too. It was refreshing to see the cleverness and brightness he brought, and that was his third tough game in a week."

Both Gerrard and Balotelli have come under criticism for their performances so far this season, but they were better at the weekend.

Gerrard was influential in midfield, whilst Balotelli had a decent impact after coming off the bench to replace Rickie Lambert.

The Reds have been out of form over the opening of the season and are now looking to make up the ground on the top four.

If they are to do so, then their form will need to dramatically improve after the upcoming international break and their first chance to show that they are hitting top form will be against QPR in two weeks time. 

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