Gerrard: Mario must embrace pressure


READ: Gerrard waiting on Reds offer

Suarez plundered 31 Premier League goals last season before trading the Reds for Barcelona.

Balotelli was sourced as a big-name replacement, but has only netted twice in 12 outings since his £16million signing from AC Milan in August.

"That shirt does weigh heavy," Gerrard told the Daily Mail. "But so does [my] No.8. So do most of the numbers. With social media and the way the general media has gone there is so much criticism and opinion out there that if the No.9 weighed heavy 10 years ago it weighs even heavier now.

"To be a main striker at Liverpool you have to expect the pressure and the responsibility and embrace it. Our fans have seen so many quality forwards over the years they expect new ones to be quality in every game. Above everything else you will have to score goals and score them regularly.

"Look at the ones I have played with - [Robbie] Fowler, [Michael] Owen, [Luis] Suarez, [Fernando] Torres. They have always been consistent with goals and that's what has made them the superstars they are.

"It's too early to get on Mario's back. He just needs time to score the goals he needs to prove to people he is worthy of staying here. I am not going to judge him after 10 games.

"To come in after Suarez was always going to be a big ask and he's not feeling sorry for himself. He is working hard, doing extra shooting sessions.

"I've actually been impressed the way he goes about his work. You hear all kinds of stories and rumours before you meet him, but he does all the work. I like the guy.

"Yes, it seems he likes the attention, he likes being the main man up front. He loves the social media and loves talking to supporters and if he wants that at Liverpool you have to score goals. He will know that and if he didn't know it coming in then he will know it now."