Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has no doubt team-mate Mario Balotelli is one of the best players in the world and is backing the striker to go on a scoring run following his goal in Tuesday night's Capital One Cup win over Swansea.
On an eventful evening for the maverick frontman, Balotelli helped his side secure a dramatic 2-1 comeback victory in the fourth-round tie at Anfield, notching their equaliser in the 86th minute - only seven minutes after his introduction as a substitute.
With it being just his second goal in 12 games since his move to Liverpool and first in nine, the close-range finish was a welcome boost for Balotelli, although he was also involved in a couple of moments of controversy.
One was an off-the-ball confrontation with Swans midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and there were further words exchanged between the pair after the final whistle as they headed off the pitch.
Another came pre-match, when Balotelli was sent away from a warm-up exercise by Reds coach Mike Marsh, something Liverpool assistant boss Colin Pascoe later stressed had happened because of no issue other than the player having suffered a minor knee problem.
As for the man himself, Balotelli expressed his relief at finding the net again with a message on his official Twitter account simply reading: "Finally!"
And Toure, who also played with the 24-year-old at Manchester City, has every confidence Balotelli will soon be celebrating more goals.
"For strikers, goals are like food," said Toure, quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"Mario needs to feed himself by scoring goals. Now he's got that one he will do that now, definitely.
"Getting that goal will be fantastic for his confidence. He is a great player, he has just been lacking goals.
"Mario is my mate and I've tried to help him like (Liverpool captain) Stevie (Gerrard), the manager (Brendan Rodgers) and everyone else in the dressing room.
"We all know he's a top player. I always tell him 'you need to get out there and show you are one of the best players in the world'.
Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Read the full story here.
After gambling at Manchester's 235 Casino, Balotelli walked away with winnings of £25,000. Feeling generous, he gave a homeless man 'with ginger dreadlocks and a beard' £1,000. Click here for the full story.
3/17 Parking fines
During his time in Manchester, Balotelli racked up £10,000 in parking fines and had his white Maserati impounded 27 times. Once he was pulled over by the police who wanted to enquire why he had £5,000 in cash on his front seat. Balotelli reorted: 'Because I am rich.' Click here for the full story.
Balotelli was 'bored', so threw darts at Manchester City youth team players to pass the time. Click here for the full story.
Balotelli explained prior to Euro 2012 how he would deal with racists: 'I will not accept racism at all. It's unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail, because I will kill them.'
In a pre-season friendly for AC Milan, two fans ran onto the pitch to demand a selfie with the striker. Rather than shy away like most would in such a situation, Balotelli was more than happy to oblige.
Mario isn't a one trick pony. He can also iron, dance and read - all at the same time. Click here to watch.
For reasons never fully explained, Balotelli once sported a chicken hat. Thankfully it was a trend that never caught on.
Getty Images; Sky News
A bright spark at the body that co-ordinates firework safety material enlisted Balotelli soon after it was reported that some had been set off in the bathroom of his Manchester mansion.
10/17 Why always me?
The day those stories emerged, Balotelli scored for City in the Manchester derby, giving him the perfect opportunity to reveal *that* t-shirt.
11/17 The Queen
The Queen may be wary of Balotelli's return to England. During the World Cup, he said he wanted a kiss from Her Royal Highness should Italy do England a favour by beating Costa Rica. Thankfully for everyone involved, they didn't.
During a Europa League defeat to Dynamo Kiev, Balotelli had to be substituted in the 57th minute with his face swelling up. It emerged afterwards that the Italian is allergic to some types of grass.
During an Inter Milan press conference to announce the appointment of Andrea Stramaccioni as interim-manager, Balotelli interrupted proceedings to say hello. He was enjoying a day-off from Manchester City at the time. Click here to watch.
Balotelli's naked torso was to be one of the defining images of Euro 2012 - but he's not overly keen on celebrating goals. 'I don't celebrate goals, I'm just doing my job,' he infamously said. 'Does a postman celebrate when he delivered the mail?'
Balotelli has always appeared to be well loved by his team-mates. Perhaps it's the pranks he plays, like this one on Edin Dzeko. Click here to watch.
Balotelli was reportedly questioned by police in Italy when he was found taking a look around the grounds of a women's prison in Brescia. Apparently he simply fancied having a look. Click here for the full story.
Balotelli's relationship with former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was a complicated one. It has been described as a father-and-son type relationship - only the sort where they fight each other during training.
EAMONN & JAMES CLARKE
"He is one of the best. He has just been missing goals but they will come now."
In a hectic finale to the tie, Balotelli's goal was followed by a red card for Swansea defender Federico Fernandez in stoppage time - the latest in a series of refereeing decisions that has left the Welsh outfit's boss Garry Monk fuming - and then a 95th-minute headed winner from Dejan Lovren.
The visitors had earlier taken the lead in the 65th minute through a fine volleyed effort by Marvin Emnes.
The Dutch striker, who joined Swansea permanently over the summer after spending the second half of 2013-14 on loan with them from Middlesbrough, was making his first start of the season and netting his second goal of the campaign - the first having come in the previous round of the competition.
And Emnes is delighted to be making an impression.
"I was in the right place and I hit it right into the corner," the 26-year-old told www.swanseacity.net.
"It was a good goal and I'm delighted to have scored.
"Every time you have a chance to impress the manager you have to take it. That was my first chance of the night and I took it, which was very pleasing.
"But the game is 90 minutes long and everything changed within a few moments.
"They got their equaliser, then the red card is shown and they get a winner with virtually the last kick.
"We had worked so hard and to lose like that is very disappointing, particularly for our fans."
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