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Rodgers: 'Balotelli Needs to Stay in the Box'

  • Goal.com, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 2:47 PM

Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers said that Mario Balotelli needs to stay in the penalty area more so he can score more goals after the Italian striker scored his first goal for the club during its last-gasp 2-1 win against Ludogorets in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. After the game, Rodgers said he hoped scoring his first goal would inspire Balotelli to many more for the Reds.

"He's used to scoring,” the Liverpool coach said. “He'd already mentioned he'd had two games and hadn't scored," Rodgers said. "I just feel he needs to be in the box more. Because of his link-up play, he drops in. I said to him at halftime 'just make sure when the ball is in wide areas you're penalty spot in, rather than penalty spot out'. He finds himself pulling back outside the box for the cut back a lot of the time.”

Rodgers added: "He's six foot three and great in the air. When the cross came in, he showed great physical strength, a touch, and then the finish was a brilliant one. It was wonderful technique with the outside of his foot. It'll give him a whole load of confidence. On top of that I thought he worked very hard - he worked and was pressing. He's still adapting and still trying to get fit because he's been behind the others in preseason. He showed his quality and that got us the goal."

Though Balotelli gave the Premier League giant the lead in the 82nd minute, Ludogorets managed to score an equalizer in stoppage time. However, an error from debutant goalkeeper Milan Borjan resulted in him fouling Javier Manquillo in the penalty area a few minutes later. Captain Steven Gerrard then held his nerve to secure victory from the spot.

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