Steven Gerrard on Mario Balotelli: 'To come in after Luis Suarez is a big ask'

'Being a No 9 weighs heavy' says the Liverpool captain

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The Independent Football

Steven Gerrard has backed Mario Balotelli to become a success at Liverpool.

The Italian has scored two goals in 12 appearances since joining the Reds from AC Milan during the summer, and Gerrard has conceded that he has big shoes to fill replace Luis Suarez, who scored 31 goals for the club last season.

"He needs time to score the goals and prove to be people he is worthy of staying here. I am not going judge him after 10 games. I have to help and support him. To come in after Suarez is tough. A big ask," Gerrard told the Telegraph.

"To be a main striker at Liverpool you have to expect the pressure and the responsibility and embrace it. Our fans expect us to win every game. To be top drawer you have to be quick and aggressive but above everything else you have to score regularly. Look at the ones I have played with – Fowler, Owen, Suarez, and Torres – consistent with goals. That’s what made them superstars.

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"Being a No 9 weighs heavy, but so does the No 8. So do most of the numbers here. We have a huge following. The pressure is on us to perform every single game, we’re on TV every three days. You can’t hide.


"You have to accept and embrace it and enjoy the pressure and the fact you are being judged. That’s what I have learnt to do since I was 19. Perform consistently or people will be critical. With social media and the way the general media has gone there is so much criticism and opinion out there that if the No 9 weighed heavy 10 years ago it weighs even heavier now."