Michael Owen claims under-performing Liverpool signing is 'world class'

Mario Balotelli Italy

Michael Owen has defended Liverpool signing Mario Balotelli.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has defended the Reds signing Mario Balotelli in the summer.

Balotelli is yet to score a single Premier League goal, and has recently been out with injury sustained on international duty.

During a question and answer session held online on Monday, Owen was quizzed whether Liverpool made the wrong choice in buying the Italian, and responded to proclaim the forward as 'world class'.

He wrote on his SportLobster page: "Hard one. There weren't many options at the time and they needed a striker.

"He's obviously not suited to the way Liv played last season with a lack of energy and pace, but he's no mug.

"In a certain style of team he's a world class player. Liv may have to adjust to get the best out of him."

Owen's claim Balotelli is a world class player is however sadly a bit of a myth these days. At international level he is living off the two goals he scored against Germany at Euro 2012, almost two and a half seasons ago.

He failed to lift AC Milan back to their former glory days, with the Italian giants more than happy to move him on this summer, and the fee of £16 million said it all.

While praise like this may be what Balotelli's ego needs to hear right now, he also has to buckle up and realise he is a long way from being this, and his long-term future at Liverpool could even be in jeopardy if he cannot turn his season around.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch