John Aldridge comments on recent form of Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli Italy

Balotelli has struggled to find form this season, but on his last few appearances he has made a noticeable impact.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has praised the recent contribution of Mario Balotelli in his Liverpool Echo column.

The Italian forward has come in for a lot of criticism ever since his £16 million arrival from AC Milan in the summer with the same questions popping up and his reputation proceeding him, with some suggesting he doesn't work hard enough for the team.  

But in recent weeks, Balotelli has made vital contributions by scoring the winning goal in the huge Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur, affecting the outcome of the FA Cup win over Crystal Palace as well as scoring the winning goal to give Liverpool a first leg advantage in the Europa League against Besiktas.

Aldridge said: "Mario Balotelli made a huge difference when he came on against Besiktas at Anfield.

"He held the ball up, he showed aggression, he tied the Turks up at the back.

"Before that it was too easy for them. We didn’t have enough physical presence up top and he provided that.

"All of us, myself included, have given him lots of stick but I cannot praise him highly enough."

The Liverpool manager, however, was not entirely happy with the contribution from the Italian against Slaven Bilic's side suggesting he stopped working for the side once he got on the scoresheet from the penalty spot - which caused something of a 'drama' given Balotelli had come off the bench and a different penalty taker was assigned beforehand.

With Daniel Sturridge left out of the starting line-up of the Reds' 2-0 win over Southampton at the weekend, Balotelli may have thought he was in with a chance of starting the game, but Rodgers opted for Raheem Sterling instead.

With fixtures still coming thick and fast, there are going to be opportunities - one would think - of Balotelli being able to impress the manager and contributing between now and the end of the season.

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