Mario Balotelli
Balotelli is training harder than ever, says Gerrard.Getty Images/PAUL ELLIS

Steven Gerrard has also backed Mario Balotelli to form a impressive duo with Daniel Sturridge, and revealed the Italian striker is doing extra shooting sections in his quest to become a Liverpool hero.

Balotelli has had a tough start to life on Merseyside, and has come in for fierce from critics unhappy about his perceived lack of commitment.

However the former AC Milan and Manchester City striker scored against Swansea in mid-week, and Gerrard believes he can overcome the situation and thrive at Liverpool.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website, Gerrard said: "Mario has the ability to turn it around. I am not going to judge him after 10 games. I have to help and support him.

"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.

"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. [Balotelli is] a big lad. He's played for big clubs and has had the responsibility before."

While many believe Balotelli is a dilettante who lacks commitment to his team's cause, Gerrard says the striker is currently working harder than ever.

"He's not feeling sorry for himself. He is working hard, doing extra shooting sessions and doing everything he can to make it work. I've been impressed with the way he goes about his work."

Gerrard also told the Liverpool website that Daniel Sturridge has as much ability as any English striker he has ever played with, and suggests he has the potential to surpass even Wayne Rooney as an out-and-out number 9.

Sturridge has only started with Balotelli in one game this season, a 3-0 victory at Tottenham, and Liverpool fans will be hoping the pair can lead their team to more big wins when the England frontman returns from injury.