Mario Balotelli: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers backs striker

Brendan Rodgers ready for 'special' game against Real Madrid
Champions League Group B - Liverpool v Real Madrid
Venue: Anfield. Date: Wednesday, 22 October. Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live and live text commentary online

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says it is "just a matter of time" before misfiring striker Mario Balotelli hits form and tipped him to find the net against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Balotelli, 24, has scored one goal in nine games since joining the Reds for £16m from AC Milan in August.

"He scores big goals in big games. I'm sure he will go into tomorrow, if picked, looking forward," said Rodgers.

"It is just a matter of time before he gets his goals."

Balotelli headed the winner against England in Italy's World Cup opener in the summer, scored both goals when Italy beat Germany 2-1 in the Euro 2012 semi-finals and hit the net twice in Manchester City's 6-1 win over rivals Manchester United in October 2011.

Without the injured Daniel Sturridge though, Rodgers has frequently selected Balotelli as Liverpool's lone striker - a role he has said he neither likes or is used to.

Balotelli v Ronaldo so far this season
9Games 13

Rodgers believes that mistakes such as Balotelli's miss from eight yards against QPR on Sunday show that the Italy international is adapting to the position however.

"The point I highlighted to him was that he was in the position to miss, he was arriving in the areas," added Rodgers.

"As long as he is in there with the possibility of scoring I am confident he will."

Real Madrid will be without injured world record signing Gareth Bale, but Cristiano Ronaldo, who has begun the season with 20 goals in 13 games for club and country, is fit.

Ronaldo never scored at Anfield during his time at former club Manchester United, but Rodgers is wary of the influence the Portugal international could have on the teams' Champions League Group B encounter.

"He is arguably the best player in the world at the moment, and his evolution from being a soloist who scores goals to a goalscorer is there to see," said Rodgers of Ronaldo.

"But we have to make a plan for our team first to ensure we cause Real Madrid problems and then prepare yourself for the quality players they have."

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo has scored in five of his six appearances against Premier League teams in Europe

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