No to Balotelli - who Merson would pick for Liverpool vs Hull

Under no circumstances should Brendan Rodgers select Mario Balotelli for Premier League duty against Hull City, argues Sky Sports panelist Paul Merson.

Paul Merson would select Rickie Lambert as a lone striker for Liverpool's upcoming Premier League test against Hull City.

It is an examination that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is under pressure to pass, as the club's form thus far this season has been a bit of a fail considering the defeats to Manchester City, Aston Villa, West Ham United, FC Basel and Real Madrid.

The scapegoat for Liverpool's failures this season is currently Italy striker Mario Balotelli, who has failed to score in six Premier League appearances despite attempting 30 shots on goal.

In the Champions League, the 24-year-old's goals to shots ratio is slightly improved, with one from 11. However, that still pales in comparison to the elite in the division (1:5).

As such, Rickie Lambert would be a preferential option for the game against Hull, to be contested at Anfield this weekend.

"I thought Liverpool were poor against Queens Park Rangers and against Real Madrid they were well out of their depth.

"Hull had a good result at Arsenal and coped with being put under pressure, but I expect Liverpool to be too good for them on Saturday," said Merson.

"I definitely don’t expect Mario Balotelli to start this game after his recent performances and also what happened with swapping his shirt at half-time on Wednesday night.

"I expect Brendan Rodgers to play Rickie Lambert – and if Rodgers only plays one up front then Hull need to abandon their approach of playing three at the back.

"Either way, I’d be shocked if Balotelli plays," concluded the two time title winner.

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