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Carragher: Drop Balotelli for Real Madrid game

FORM LOSS: Balotelli has struggled for goals since joining Liverpool (PA)

LIVERPOOL LEGEND Jamie Carragher has urged Brendan Rodgers to drop summer signing Mario Balotelli for their crunch Champions League game.

The Reds face Real Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday evening (Oct 22) as they look to get back to winning ways after losing 1-0 to Basel last time out.

Balotelli has had a tricky start to his Liverpool career, only managing one goal in his first nine games for the club. That was against European football minnows Ludogorats in their first Champions League game for five years.

On Sky Sports News Monday Night Football, Carragher said: “I would bring Philippe Coutinho in for Balotelli and play Raheem Sterling at centre forward. They can't have any passengers. Balotelli doesn't run around enough and against Real Madrid you've got to get that crowd going.

“There’s got to be an energy about Liverpool that we haven’t seen; we’ve seen it once this season at Spurs. It’s going on too long now and we can’t keep waiting. It’s a huge game and Liverpool have to get something from it.”

Liverpool go into tomorrows game on the back of a 3-2 win at Queens Park Rangers although even manager Rodgers admitted they were lucky to get the three points.

They had been hoping to have England striker Daniel Sturridge back, but he has been ruled out for another month.

The former England defender added: “I would put Sterling in there because he can run in behind and Liverpool may have to counter-attack a lot of the game. Madrid may have a lot of the ball.

“Sterling can also press from the front. He doesn’t have to play right up front and he can come back and help the midfield.”

The five-time European Champions currently sit third in their group, behind Real Madrid and Basel.

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