Daniel Sturridge confident of building 'successful' strike partnership with Mario Balotelli

Balotelli In Italy Kit

Liverpool's talismanic striker thinks he could form a partnership with the much criticised Balotelli, who has struggled to find form at Anfield so far this season.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has said he is confident he can strike up a partnership with Mario Balotelli at Liverpool.

The duo have only played together twice this season, mostly down to Sturridge's five-month absence because of thigh and calf injuries during the first half of the season. 

They first played together on the Italian's debut in the 3-0 victory over Tottenham at the end of August, with both players looking a threat, but didn't play together again until the second half of their 2-1 FA Cup win over Crystal Palace at the weekend - where they both played a pivotal role in booking the Reds' place in the quarter-finals.

Sturridge told reporters at a pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool's Europa League tie against Besiktas: "It's easy to play with Mario, I enjoy playing with him. I feel we can have a successful partnership. But I can play with anybody in the team."

Balotelli himself has struggled for form this season and had a couple of injury problems. The Italian has registered as many goals as Sturridge in a Liverpool shirt but has played for at least two months more than his teammate this term. He has in the past expressed his desire to play as part of a front two rather than a lone striker.

The current system, which Sturridge admitted was different even though the mentality is still the same, seems to suit a lone striker more, but can be easily switched to accommodate a strike duo at the expense of one of the two attacking midfielders. 

With Sturridge edging closer to fitness, and Balotelli showing signs that he could make a contribution to this Liverpool team going forward, it will be interesting to see just how often the pair will be seen together. 

There could be an opportunity for Brendan Rodgers to make changes for the first leg of the Besiktas tie, with a congested fixture list for his side to endure offering a chance for Liverpool to start with both attackers at Anfield tomorrow night.

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