Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sturridge Can't Wait to Link with Super Mario

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sturridge Can't Wait to Link with Super Mario

Article excerpt

DANIEL Sturridge is hoping to form a successful partnership with Mario Balotelli after the Italian scored just his second Liverpool goal against Swansea on Tuesday night.

Balotelli helped his side secure a dramatic 2-1 comeback victory in the Capital One Cup fourth-round tie at Anfield, notching their equaliser in the 86th minute - only seven minutes after his introduction as a substitute.

The goal will ease some of the pressure on the striker who had come under scrutiny after scoring just once in his first 11 games for the club since a PS16million summer switch from AC Milan.

And Sturridge, who has not featured since September due to a calf injury but is nearing a return, cannot wait to work in tandem with his team-mate.

"We get on well off the field and in the changing rooms," he told talk-SPORT. "We're always laughing and joking.

"It's not hugely important to be friends to have a great (football) relationship with somebody, and if you're not friends you can still have a great partnership, but you can also be friends and have a great partnership.

"Once I get back fit I'm hoping we can strike up a partnership.

"Last season with Luis (Suarez) we had a great relationship up front and scored a lot of goals. Hopefully this season it will be the same."

Balotelli developed a reputation as a larger-than-life character during his two-and-a-half year spell with Manchester City, but Sturridge insists he is "misunderstood" and launched a robust defence of the 24-yearold.

"Mario has been under the microscope," he added. "That will always be the case when you play for a big club. You are going to have a lot of eyes on you.

"Mario's a great guy, and he's misunderstood sometimes. A lot of people are harsh on him. I get on really with him though. I have nothing but good words to say about him.

"He's working hard on the training field. …

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