Steven Gerrard: 'Mario Balotelli needs more time'

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard says that it is "too early" to get on Mario Balotelli's back following recent criticism aimed in the striker's direction.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has jumped to the defence of Mario Balotelli, saying that the misfiring striker needs more time to make an impact at the club.

The 24-year-old, who joined the Reds from AC Milan in a deal worth £16m in the summer, has scored just two goals in 12 appearances since making the move.

Balotelli has failed to get off the mark completely in the Premier League, which led to former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher questioning the performances of the summer purchase.

In response, Gerrard is quoted by The Express as saying: "You have to respect Jamie's opinion. He knows football but it's too early to get on Mario's back. He just needs time to score the goals he needs to prove to people he is worthy of staying here.

"I am not going to judge him after 10 games. To come in after Suarez was always going to be a big ask and he's not feeling sorry for himself. He is working hard, doing extra shooting sessions.

"I've actually been impressed with the way he goes about his work. You hear all kinds of stories and rumours before you meet him, but he does all the work. I like the guy."

Liverpool are currently seventh in the Premier League table, with a trip to face Newcastle United next up.

Steven Gerrard #8 of Liverpool infront of the home fans after scoring the opening goal from a free kick during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on September 27, 2014
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