English Premiership

Strike will boost Balotelli

2015-02-11 11:48
Mario Balotelli (AFP)

Liverpool - Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe said Mario Balotelli's long-awaited first Premier League goal for the Reds could kickstart the striker's spluttering Anfield career.

PLAYER RATINGS: LIVERPOOL V SPURS

Balotelli came off the bench to net a dramatic winner seven minutes from time in Tuesday's 3-2 victory as Brendan Rodgers' side boosted their hopes of a top-four finish.

It was the Italy international's first goal for Liverpool in 13 league games, and his first in the English top flight since he scored for Manchester City against Wigan in 2012.

Pascoe hopes Balotelli's struggles will now become a thing of the past and that the enigmatic 24-year-old, who had previously scored only twice in all competitions this season, can take confidence from the goal.

"I hope it can be a springboard, he is training hard," Pascoe said. "It's testament to him that's he kept going and got his reward. It was great movement from Mario in the six-yard box and a good finish."

The Reds had twice led through Lazar Markovic and a Steven Gerrard penalty, only to be pegged back by goals from Tottenham's Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele.

However, Balotelli came off the bench to strike the decisive blow and secure the points against one of Liverpool's rivals for a Champions League spot.

Liverpool now lie seventh in the table, one place behind Spurs and only three points off the all-important top four.

"The last couple of weeks Mario's been ill," Pascoe added. "And he has had some knocks on his foot and he couldn't get his boot on. So it's great that he scored the winner

"To get a winner at Anfield, he is immensely happy."

GERRARD HAMSTRUNG 

Pascoe also revealed that Liverpool captain Gerrard was withdrawn in the second half as a preventative measure because of a slight hamstring problem.

"Steven felt his hamstring and felt he had to come off," Pascoe said. "He could feel it a little. But it was an important win, it was a great win and we deserved it."

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