Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hails blossoming front pair

Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli Liverpool

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Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to his front men Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli as the Reds came from behind to book their spot in the FA Cup quarter finals
with a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Sturridge appears to be revitalising the Reds on his return from injury while Balotelli, often ridiculed since arriving at Anfield in August, capped a positive week with another cameo at Selhurst Park. It was Sturridge who got the leveller for Liverpool in the second half before Adam Lallana scored the winner.

Rodgers cautioned he cannot rush the England striker back into full game mode but he is nonetheless pleased with what he’s seeing.

“He’s working his way back, it’s just about extending his game time,” Rodgers said. “I’ve got to do that because you risk re-injuring him and that’s something we can’t afford. You can see his qualities – his speed, his touch and he doesn’t need too many chances to score.”

Balotelli came off the bench in midweek to score the winner against Spurs and he impressed again when linking up with Sturridge in the second half against Palace. Rodgers says things are starting to come together for the enigmatic Italian international.

“He’s training well now and he’s starting to really work and focus on his job and the team,” the boss said. “The other night he came on and got the winner and did very well, and I thought he came on and did very well today.”

Rodgers will have his eye on more cup success when Liverpool (1.59) begin their Europa League knockout campaign by hosting Besiktas (5.70) at Anfield on Thursday. The draw is 3.63.

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