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Benteke an upgrade on Balotelli, says Barnes

Liverpool legend John Barnes is confident Christian Benteke will prove to be a major upgrade on Mario Balotelli and form a fine partnership with Daniel Sturridge.

Brendan Rodgers brought in the Belgium international from Aston Villa during the close-season after Balotelli had failed to make an impact during his one season at Anfield.

Benteke netted the winner in the 1-0 victory over Bournemouth - Liverpool's opening home game - while also finding the net versus Manchester United, and Barnes has little doubt he will succeed on Merseyside.

"Balotelli and Benteke are completely different players," Barnes was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.

"Benteke loves high balls, he's strong, he's got a great attitude and he runs the channels, whereas Balotelli is different.

"It's a completely different partnership [Sturridge and Benteke compared to Sturridge and Balotelli].

"Benteke is a completely different kettle of fish. He has a much better attitude, so I'm hopeful he'll be a better option alongside Sturridge."

The 24-year-old is recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up versus Norwich City at the weekend.