The Italy international moved to Anfield for around £16m in August, but has endured a slow start to life with the Reds.
Balotelli has scored just one goal, but former Chelsea star Essien thinks that his ex-Milan teammate will eventually prove his quality for Brendan Rodgers's side.
He told reporters: "Mario is a good person. We are great friends, we already knew each other before we met at Milan.
"Then he left Milan but I'm sure he will have a great future. He still has to work hard to improve, but he has all the qualities to be a top player."
Liverpool travel to Queens Park Rangers this Sunday.