Liverpool latest: Pirlo tells Rodgers how to get the best out of Balotelli

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The question surrounding Mario Balotelli's performances at Liverpool continue, with the Italian drawing yet another blank in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Hull City at Anfield - despite being presented with a golden opportunity late in the game. Fans are growing increasingly frustrated with the former Manchester City striker, but his Italy team-mate Andrea Pirlo says it's up to Brendan Rodgers to get the best out of the controversial frontman.

"The difference between other players and Mario is that every action he takes is going to be scrutinised," Pirlo said. "The media is interested in him, and things he does are going to be highlighted – where perhaps with other players they would not get such a reaction – or maybe even no reaction at all."

"There is no question over his talent – I have played with him and I know how good he is and how good he can be. It is the job of the Liverpool coach to manage him in the right way.He needs to be loved, he needs direction, but most importantly he needs to know that the coach believes in him. If he spends time with Mario – I know he can still go on and be a great player for Liverpool."

Meanwhile, the Reds' injury list doesn't look much shorter, and assistant manager Colin Pascoe says that centre back Mamadou Sakho is still some time away from returning to the first team.

"He's progressing well. He was unfortunate - he came back in and picked up a similar injury," he said. "It will be another couple of weeks for Mamadou and then hopefully he'll be back. As soon as he's fit and raring to go, he's available."

Finally, the transfer rumour mill continues to work in overdrive with the January transfer window drawing ever close, and Liverpool are being linked with two moves to sign Premier League forwards after Balotelli's struggles. Swansea City's Wilfried Bony and West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino have both had great starts to the season, and speculation suggests that the pair are on Rodgers' transfer wishlist.

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