Mario Balotelli
Jamie Carragher has called for Mario Balotelli to be droppedGetty Images

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has called for Brendan Rodgers to drop striker Mario Balotelli when the Reds take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The former Reds defender has labelled the Italian international a 'passenger' for his lack of movement and inability to aid the midfield when it comes to pressing hard and winning back possession.

"He doesn't run around enough," Carragher told Sky Sports.

He believes Raheem Sterling should be played up front, as he can run in behind the Real defence and cause them problems on the counter attack, since he expects the Spanish capital club to have more possession of the ball during the game.

"I would put Raheem Sterling in there because he can run in behind and Liverpool may have to counter-attack a lot of the game. Madrid may have a lot of the ball."

"Sterling can also press from the front. He doesn't have to play right up front and he can come back and help the midfield," the Reds legend added.

"They can't have any passengers against Real Madrid."

The former England international defender wants Philippe Coutinho to replace Balotelli, as it will make the midfield stronger when it comes to pressing the ten times European champions.

"The decision I would make would be to bring Coutinho in for Balotelli. I wouldn't play Balotelli in this game."

"I would play Raheem Sterling, whether you'd call it a centre-forward or a false nine. I think it's important Liverpool have three players [in front of Gerrard] who work and get after Real Madrid and then Sterling, if he's off the front, can run in behind people. I'd have Coutinho in a wide area," Carragher explained.

"I think they can [get something from the game], but it's how Brendan Rodgers sets up."

The 36-year-old former defender is hoping Liverpool can play with an intensity that will have the Anfield crowd bouncing, as he believes that they will play an important role on Wednesday night, when the reigning champions visit.

"Against Real Madrid you've got to get that crowd going. You need to get back to Liverpool of last year and that pressing. There's got to be an energy about Liverpool that we haven't seen; we've seen it once this season at Spurs," Carragher concluded.