Skip to main content

Liverpool swat Spurs aside

updated 1:44 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
Mario Balotelli showed glimpses of quality as Liverpool beat Spurs 3-0.
Mario Balotelli showed glimpses of quality as Liverpool beat Spurs 3-0.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0
  • Mario Balotelli made his Liverpool debut
  • He didn't score but showed glimpses of class
  • Sterling, Gerrard and Moreno all on the score sheet

(CNN) -- Mario Balotelli didn't score but, once again, it was still all about him.

The Italian striker made his much anticipated reintroduction into English soccer Sunday when he started for Liverpool against Tottenham Hotspur.

For the first time in his life he marked at a corner
Rodgers on Balotelli

Liverpool ran out comfortable 3-0 winners with goals from Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard and new signing Alberto Moreno.

But before, during and after the game, all eyes were on the mercurial Balotelli, who showed flashes of both his brilliance and profligacy. On any other day he might have had a hat trick, but he missed his three clear cut chances in the first half.

Rodgers impressed

Yet Balotelli's work rate and approach play on and off the ball impressed his new coach Brendan Rodgers.

"He is a good man and I think if you take away the circus around him, and the circus he invites himself sometimes, control the background noise and get him focused on his football, he'll make mistakes ... but he's going to be a real handful for defenders," Rodgers said after the game.

Mourinho on the enigma of Balotelli
Balotelli: Racism makes me feel alone
Balotelli: I'm glad I left England

Rodgers also revealed that Balotelli had never defended at a corner before coming to Liverpool.

"For the first time in his life he marked at a corner," Rodgers revealed.

"Serious. International player, won three titles, and we were doing corners and I said, 'are you picking up [opposition players] at the corners'. He said: 'I don't mark at corners.' You do now."

It was almost a dream debut for Balotelli but he managed to head the ball straight at Hugo Lloris in the Tottenham goal. But Rodgers' new system, with Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge up front and Raheem Sterling playing behind, paid dividends. In fact it was Sterling who broke the deadlock when he scored at the near post following a Jordan Henderson cross from the right hand side.

A Steven Gerrard penalty and a stunning Alberto Moreno strike made sure of the points and ensured Balotelli's return to English football was a winning one.

Arsenal stutter

Later in the day Arsenal continued their indifferent Premier League form with a 1-1 draw against Leicester City. With the transfer window about to shut, Arsenal's depth of forward options had been under scrutiny before the game.

But it was one of coach Arsene Wenger's big summer signings, Alexis Sanchez, who put Arsenal ahead before Leicester City equalized through a Leo Ulloa header.

Arsenal had 24 chances during the match but couldn't break down a team who were promoted from English soccer's second tier last season. "Tough, tough," Wenger told Sky Sports after the draw.

"A draw was fair. We didn't play well enough. We lacked a bit of creativity. We've had two tough weeks, three away games. It is not an excuse, but we are a bit jaded. In the end we could have lost it."

Balotelli signs for Liverpool

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT