Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli has scored three goals since his 2014 summer move to Liverpool Getty Images

Mario Balotelli has dedicated his first Premier League for Liverpool to "those who have always believed and supported" him even during the hard times.

The Italy international replaced Daniel Sturridge in the 74<sup>th minute, with the score still level at 2-2, and 10 minutes later he netted the winner to give his side a crucial 3-2 victory over Tottenham.

The former Manchester City striker scored for Liverpool in the Champions League group stage match against Ludogorets and in the League Cup victory over Swansea City.

However, he has remained under scrutiny for struggling to net his first strike in the Premier League after 13 appearances, eight of them as a starter.

Balotelli expressed his joy on his Instagram after the game and dedicated a smile to those who have always supported him.

"Great game guys!!! This smile is ONLY for those that always Belive and support me. Thank you . ❤️ and Forza Liverpool. But now head down and keep working hard. Tonight is past," the striker posted.

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers' assistant Colin Pascoe suggested Balotelli's reward was justified for his hard work in training.

"Mario always works hard in training. Recently he has been ill and also had a knock on his foot and couldn't get his boot on but he kept going and deserved his goal," he said.

"He got the winner so I'm sure he's happy. He knew he might have to play a part and he did."

Meanwhile, Adam Lallana and Mamadou Sakho have urged their teammate to keep working to add more goals to his tally in the second half of the campaign.

"He needs to keep working hard, because when he works hard, and comes on like that, the fans warm to him and people react to him. He can score goals. He needs to keep working hard and I'm sure the goals will keep coming," Lallana said.

Sakho added: "It's great news for him, for the team and for the club. I hope he will score many goals for the team because he is a very good man and I know every day he works hard in training. I'm happy for him."