Michael Owen: Mario Balotelli will fill Daniel Sturridge's void for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool

The former Reds striker is backing Liverpool's newest forward to deliver in the absence of Daniel Sturridge.

Michael Owen admits Daniel Sturridge's latest injury 'couldn't be worse' for Liverpool - but feels Mario Balotelli will now deliver in his absence.

The hope among Liverpool fans for some time has been that Sturridge will return to fitness and guide the Reds out of their current rot.

The 25-year-old has suffered a third consecutive injury problem, however, ruling him out until the New Year.

How does boss Brendan Rodgers compensate for the loss?

For Owen, the answer isn't turning to Fabio Borini or Rickie Lambert. Indeed, the former Liverpool forward feels Rodgers needs to get Balotelli firing - something he is confident will happen.

"The timing of Daniel Sturridge's latest muscle injury couldn't be worse for Liverpool with plenty of big games between now and the January transfer window," Owen wrote on Sportlobster.

"The only obvious solution is for Brendan Rodgers to get the most out of Balotelli. He is more than capable and the upcoming fixtures are not the most daunting. It's a big opportunity for Super Mario to do the business and I think he will."

The Reds travel to Crystal Palace tomorrow afternoon, the team they surrendered a three-goal lead against last season. What Rodgers wouldn't give for three goals this time around, though...

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