'Penny has dropped' for Balotelli

After an impressive cameo in Liverpool's FA Cup win at Crystal Palace, Brendan Rodgers believes Mario Balotelli is hitting his stride.

Mario Balotelli looks to have finally convinced Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers of his capabilities, with the manager claiming "the penny has dropped" for the Italian.

A £16million signing from Milan in August, Balotelli failed to score in his first 12 Premier Leagues games for the Anfield club before hitting the winner against Tottenham on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old could not add to his three-goal haul for the season as a half-time substitute at Crystal Palace on Saturday, but an impressive display helped Liverpool overturn a 1-0 deficit at the interval to win 2-1.

"He's been working really hard in training," Rodgers said. "I think now the penny has dropped.

"I assess players every day in training. No matter how good they are, it doesn't matter - you have to put the work in.

"It has been difficult for him because he's coming into a [playing] style that he's perhaps never been in before in terms of the intensity and the pressing.

"But one thing he has got, he's got big quality. In the last couple of games he's come off the bench and been effective for us."

Adam Lallana echoed the sentiments of his manager, suggesting an improved work ethic was behind Balotelli's upturn.

Lallana told BT Sport: "I think we were creating chances in the first-half but we didn't have enough men in the box.

"But he's got qualities, Mario. When he works hard he's a big threat as he showed in the second half today."