Heskey: Balotelli risk could pay off for Reds

Emile Heskey thinks Liverpool are taking a risk by signing Mario Balotelli but believes the striker could be a shrewd acquisition.

The controversial Italy international is expected to move to Anfield from Milan in a deal reported to be worth £16 million.

Balotelli has hit the headlines for his antics on and off the field throughout his career and former Liverpool striker Heskey sees his arrival as a risk.

Heskey, though, is in no doubt ex-Manchester City forward Balotelli has the ability to be a success in his second spell in the Premier League and provide an additional goal threat following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

"I didn't realise he was on their radar, I don't think anyone was realising that, but once you get over that shock, you think it's quite a good deal," Heskey said.

"Sixteen million for someone of his calibre on the pitch, then obviously you get everything off the pitch as well.

"I think you probably are looking at a risk, but they would have probably weighed everything up, and every manager thinks that they can tame the beast or the wild side of him. But if you're looking at his goals-per-game ratio, it's quite good. 

"I don't think there are many you could say are a natural replacement for Suarez. One of the best, if not the best number nine in the world at the minute, so where do you go from there? 

"I do think he's got a lot of talent and I do think he'll bring a something to the side, I think Liverpool have spent money wisely, and improved their squad immensely. 

"They've got a better squad than they did last year, but then you've got that added extra with Suarez, who like I said, is the best number nine in the world."

Suarez scored 31 Premier League goals in 33 games last season before completing a big-money move to Camp Nou last month.