Mario Balotelli-Daniel Sturridge
Mario Balotelli-Daniel SturridgeGetty

Liverpool legend Ian Rush believes summer signing Mario Balotelli will improve once Daniel Sturridge returns from injury.

The England international picked up a thigh injury while on international duty in September. The Reds face Queens Park Rangers on Sunday and the former Chelsea striker was expected to return for the weekend league clash.

However, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Sturridge has picked up another injury and will be out of action for further two to four weeks. Balotelli is yet to score for the Merseyside club in the Premier League and has just one goal against his name in all competitions this season.

The Italian international is playing as a lone striker for the Anfield club in the absence of Sturridge. Rush, who is Liverpool's all-time leading goal scorer, insists that the return of the English striker will ease pressure on Balotelli and Raheem Sterling.

"All the talk has been about Raheem and his importance for both Liverpool and England, but having Daniel back will take some of the pressure off him," Rush told the Liverpool Echo.

"I think Balotelli will also be happy about Daniel's return. He has mostly played up front on his own since Daniel has been out but I think he will improve with someone else up front alongside him."

"The only time they have played together was Tottenham away when Balotelli and Daniel were fantastic together.

"Balotelli hasn't scored as many as he would have liked so far but there have been games where he hasn't had many chances. With Daniel back out there I'm sure he will get more chances," he added.

The former Reds striker has backed Sturridge to go on to become another Liverpool legend after recently signing a new long-term contract.

"Daniel's got all the talent and all the skills needed. To be a legend you need to be at a club for a long time - at least five years – and the fact he signed a new deal shows how happy he is at Liverpool," the Anfield legend said.

"All the ingredients are there for him to become a legend, it's just a case of keeping on producing it on the pitch. He was fantastic last season and I think the supporters have helped him a lot.

"This is a special club and he knows that. He feels a close bond with the fans. He settled and if he stays injury free, he can achieve anything he wants at Liverpool," Rush concluded.