Brendan Rodgers has revealed Mario Balotelli has been studying Liverpool’s history both as a club and a city, reports the Independent.
The 24-year-old scored his first Liverpool goal in the Reds 2-1 victory over Ludogorets in the Champions League on Tuesday, and his manager revealed afterwards he has been studying history in order to settle into the club and the area quicker.
“He’s a boy who has really looked into the history of the club and he understands the great strikers of the past,” said Rodgers.
“We have spoken about Suarez and his time here. Remember he’s still young, he still wants to learn, he still needs to learn and that’s the beauty of it for me.
“When I spoke to him when I first met him he still had this keenness to want to learn and when you see his work against Ludogorets, he put his body on the line and he needs to do more of that.
“I think that will come when he gets fitter and getting into good positions will allow him to score goals.
“But he’s well in tune with the history, not only of the club, but of Liverpool.”
Balotelli has already endeared himself to the clubs supporters by posting tributes to Bill Shankly and the Beatles on his social media accounts.
But it’s his performances on the pitch that Liverpool fans really care about, and his manager believes there is more to come once the Italian gets up to full fitness.
“I’d always planned to keep him on (against Ludogorets). I took him off in the other two games, but it’s about building up his matches,” Rodgers added.
“Against Tottenham it was an hour. Then he has been working well, but he was ill leading up to the Aston Villa game but we needed him.
“So he was up to 70-odd minutes then and he will get fitter with the games.
“The idea was to persist with him. He’s a good reference for us and he’s improving with each day that he trains.
“It was a brilliant finish, a wonderful technique, and that’s what we required at that moment, that bit of Champions League class if you want to call it that and he showed that.”
Rodgers understands he also faces a challenge to unlock the potential of Balotelli, as well as keeping his temper in check.
The former AC Milan man has had public fall outs with a number of coaches, including Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho.
“As a coach you’ll always have some players who are low maintenance and some who are high maintenance for different reasons,” continued Rodgers.
“I’ll spend a lot of time with a lot of the players, but he’s a good boy and he’s prepared to work.
“His work-rate tonight (against Ludogorets) was good, okay the ball’s bounced off him a couple of times but we’re trying to improve him in the transition so that when he makes a mistake he can go after it.
“I think we can see he’s trying to put it in for the team and that’s very important because the crowd demand that.
“The players who have been here in the past in that position have been non-stop and he’s becoming attuned to that. He’s aware of that.
“He scores goals and if he continues to work, everyone knows he’s got the quality and he produced it when we needed it tonight.”