How Mario Balotelli solved a couple of Liverpool's issues against Tottenham

Balotelli Milan

The Italian was impressive during his hour-long display at White Hart Lane

Mario Balotelli made his Liverpool debut in the 3-0 against Tottenham after securing his £16 million move from AC Milan last Monday. 

The Italian didn't get on the scoresheet during his 60 minute showing at White Hart Lane but still proved to be very effective during his time on the field. 

In the opening exchanges he probably should have done better with a header from Daniel Sturridge's cross that was saved by Hugo Lloris. His presence caused a problem.

The power Balotelli possesses allowed him to occupy at least two defenders during the game, and Sturridge was given more licence to be a threat in the channels and dropping deeper - whereas at times during Southampton and Manchester City, the man that scored 21 goals for the Reds in the Premier League last season looked isolated. Balotelli's presence allowed Sturridge to have more of a say in the game.

He also should have done better with a shot at goal when Lloris played the ball into his path and left his goal unguarded but more match sharpness will address that issue. 

His ability to hold the ball up allowed Liverpool to use their pace on the counter-attack, he brought other players into play whilst his creative side showed great footballing intelligence.

SEE ALSO: Report: 21-year-old Liverpool player to sign three-year deal in Italy

In the opening two games, Liverpool didn't carry such a threat - and even when the job was done at 3-0, he along with the rest of his new teammates had Tottenham's defence beaten. They were worn down and Raheem Sterling ought to have got his second goal of the game, whilst Lazar Markovic showed signs of being a threat even with the change of system.

Balotelli brought Liverpool's flexibility back going forward, offering different attacking threats, and over the course of the season it could be crucial.

What did you make of Balotelli's first Liverpool appearance?

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch