Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool will feel Luis Suarez' absence, says Manuel Pellegrini

By Andy Hampson

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes Mario Balotelli could be the "perfect" fit for Liverpool – but insists they will still miss Luis Suarez.

Liverpool are understood to be closing in on a £16million deal to bring controversial former City forward Balotelli to Anfield as a replacement for departed talisman Suarez.

Suarez scored 31 goals for the Merseysiders last season and has left big boots to fill.

Turning to Balotelli, who earned notoriety during his two and a half years at City for his erratic behaviour, appears a gamble by manager Brendan Rodgers.

But Rodgers seems to have recruited well in his other transfer activity this summer and Pellegrini thinks Balotelli could deliver.

Pellegrini, whose spell at the Etihad Stadium began after Balotelli's departure for AC Milan, said: "They will always miss Luis Suarez because he is a very important player but they have bought a lot of important new players.

"I think Mario Balotelli is a very good player. He went here from Manchester City to Italy but I think he can play everywhere he wants.

"I know the character of Mario Balotelli – everyone that is involved in football knows about him.

"If Liverpool decide he is the player that is important for them, perfect for them and perfect for Mario."

As Liverpool work on a deal with Balotelli, he cannot be registered in time to face his old club City on Monday.

Pellegrini continued: "We are just starting this season – last season for us is finished.

"We are not thinking any more about what happened last season.

"Different games, different moments. It is very important to start winning our points at home."

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