Brendan Rodgers comments on Mario Balotelli's training levels

Balotelli

Brendan Rodgers defended Mario Balotelli after Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Hull City.

Mario Balotelli received more criticism from fans and pundits alike due to his inability to find Liverpool the winner in their 0-0 draw with Hull City on Saturday. 

The 24-year-old has no goals in any of his seven Premier League appearances for the Reds, with his only strike coming in the Champions League against minnows Ludogorets Razgrad. 

After the match against Hull City, Brendan Rodgers was quick to defend his misfiring frontman and told reporters that the Italian international has been working hard on the training pitch and suggested Balotelli is trying is best to improve. 

''I have only been working with him for a short period of time,'' Rodgers told liverpoolfc.com

''I gauge it, first and foremost, on the training field. He puts himself out to train every single day - he's out there wanting to be better and wanting to improve.

''Goalscorers will tell you they get their energy and confidence from the ball hitting the back of the net. It's just not quite happening for him in terms of that, but all I ask is that they do their best.

''You say today's reaction, he worked very hard and we was just unlucky we didn't get that goal. He'll be disappointed he hasn't scored. But it was a big effort by the team physically - we just couldn't find the final touch.''

The 41-year-old manager, who previously dubbed the signing of Balotelli as a no-brainer, will be under no illusion that the pressure on the Italian striker is resonating to him, as proven by many Liverpool supporters hitting out at both of them for their current plight. 

Rodgers' comments regarding his effort in training will be satisfying for supporters, but until he starts scoring goals in matches then the questions will always be asked. 

On the face of it, Balotelli's biggest issue in front of goal is his inefficiency in front of goal. Only one player - Sergio Aguero - has had more shots to minutes than him in the Premier League.  

  PositionTeamMinutes per ShotGoalsAppearancesMins Played
Sergio Agüero FW Man City 14.37 9 9 618
Diego Costa FW Chelsea 26.77 9 7 589
Saido Berahino FW West Brom 29.96 7 9 809
Graziano Pellè FW Southampton 19.51 6 9 800
Diafra Sakho FW West Ham 24.26 6 7 558
Alexis Sánchez FW Arsenal 28.62 5 8 601
Mario Balotelli FW Liverpool 16.13 0 7 516

Diego Costa and Saido Berahino join Sergio Aguero as the top goalscorers in the Premier League, but neither have had as many shots on goal than the misfiring Liverpool man. An indication that it could just be a confidence or composure issue when given the opportunities, two assets Mario Balotelli has been said to have in abundance in the past. 

Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Hull City leaves them seventh in the league table with 14 points; a far cry from the title ambitions Liverpool supporters had before the season kicked off. 

Newcastle are next up for Rodgers and his men, in a game that neither manager can really afford to lose. 

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