Balotelli tweets praise for Raheem Sterling

Mario Balotelli has risked angering the Liverpool fanbase by tweeting praise for Raheem Sterling after his goalscoring debut for Manchester City.

The England international finally completed a £49 million move to the Etihad Stadium earlier in July after a protracted and bad-tempered transfer saga, having refused to sign a new contract at Anfield.

Sterling has drawn a great deal of abuse from Liverpool supporters as a result of his pursuit of the switch and, after he netted just three minutes into his first pre-season appearance for his new club on Tuesday, his now-former colleague offered some support.

Balotelli’s comments quickly prompted a swarm of angry replies and he moved quickly to insist that he was not trying to criticise his own team’s supporters but called for an end to the bitterness over Sterling’s departure.