Mario Balotelli has "plenty more" to offer after his goal-scoring cameo helped Liverpool come from behind to eliminate Swansea from the Capital One Cup, according to Alan McInally.
The maligned Italian has struggled for goals since his Anfield arrival this summer, failing to find the net so far in the Premier League and attracting criticism for a series of lethargic displays.
But seven minutes after coming on as a substitute against Swansea, Balotelli volleyed Liverpool level after Marvin Emnes' opener. A late red card shown to the Swans' Federico Fernandez allowed Dejan Lovren to win the game for Liverpool in stoppage time.
"It will do wonders for him," McInally told Soccer Special.
“Brendan Rodgers will be happy for Balotelli but knows there is still loads to come. There will be plenty more from him I’m sure.
"If he's dreaming and watching the cross from Fabio Borini, he doesn’t score. He takes a chance, gets in front and gets good contact on it."
The Sky Sports pundit did warn that Balotelli's goal does not necessarily mean his on-pitch demeanour will change.
Liverpool's Dejan Lovren says he is relieved for team-mate Mario Balotelli after the striker scored against Swansea
"He was still moping about a bit and he wanted to fight Jonjo Shelvey afterwards in the tunnel and you want him to forget about that and get on with the good things.
"He's easy to love but he’s dead easy to hate. You want him to do well, loads of people want him to do well.
"His body language sometimes gives out a negative effect. But he scored the goal that kept them in the game that they eventually won so he’s got plenty to be happy about."
Fellow pundit and ex-Liverpool striker Neil Mellor claimed that Balotelli’s game-changing cameo role could pave the way for a league start this weekend.
Mellor said: "You’re hoping that this impact as a substitute, scoring a goal and changing a cup tie.Balotelli’s got himself a goal and that will give him huge confidence going to Newcastle at the weekend.
“I’m sure Alan Pardew will be disappointed seeing Balotelli scoring.
“His confidence will be sky high if selected on Saturday lunchtime.”