Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli finally scored his first Premiership goal last night in a crucial top-four finish match against Tottenham to give Liverpool a 3-2 win at Anfield.

Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe says that the winning goal was a reward for the Italian after all the hard work he has put in during training telling talkSPORT:”Mario always works hard in training and recently he has been ill and he has had some knocks on his foot where he couldn’t get his boot on,” said the assistant who was standing in for Rodgers who had left to board a flight to watch a match in Europe on Wednesday.

“It is testament to himself, he kept going and got his reward.”

In true Balotelli style the 24-year-old took the goal in his stride showing no emotion on the pitch, and unsurprisingly not celebrating the fact it was his first Premiership goal since joining Liverpool from AC Milan, never mind the match winner leading fans to speculate he was not happy at Anfield.

Pascoe said that was not the case insisting: “He is immensely happy.

“To get a winner at Anfield, I am sure he is happy. Again, with Mario he knew he would have a part to play and he certainly did.”

It was a vital win in Liverpool’s desire for a top four finish with the Reds now just three points behind third placed Southampton, who face West Ham tonight at St Marys.

“We needed to win tonight to get closer to the top,” added Pascoe.

“We always thought that. Our next [league] game is Southampton and we will look at that to get three points and keep closing the gap.”