Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has denied suggestions the club are interested in signing AC Milan forward Mario Balotelli, having praised the Italian international last week.

Rodgers was questioned regarding Balotelli prior to the pre-season friendly between Milan and the Reds, and gave a glittering review of the former Manchester City striker.

Those comments worked to substantiate reports that Liverpool were looking to sign Balotelli as a replacement for Luis Suarez, who has joined Barcelona, but Rodgers has denied any interest.

"I can categorically tell you Mario Balotelli will not be at Liverpool," Rodgers said.

"In my last press conference I was asked a question about Mario Balotelli, and I talked about what a talent he was and what an excellent player he was.

"The next day it was written as if we were signing him. I just gave my perception of him as a player. It shouldn't be transmitted into us signing the player."

Milan have made no secret over their desire to sell Balotelli this summer, but AC Milan's president, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, believes his poor performances during the World Cup for Italy have damaged their chances of selling the 23 year-old.

Victory for Liverpool over Milan has set up a pre-season meeting with Manchester United in Miami this week, but Rodgers' upmost concern remains signing a player to replace Suarez, who contributed 31 league goals last season.

The club failed to complete a deal to sign Loic Remy, and while Rickie Lambert and Divock Origi have joined this summer, the latter will return on loan to Lille for the coming season.

Rodgers' problems have been further accentuated by injury to Daniel Sturridge, which doesn't rule him out for the start of the season, but has forced him to return home from the club's US tour.

And asked whether the blow reinforces the need for a new striker, Rodgers admitted: "Yes. It's crucial for us."