Henry and Berbatov illustrate that a thriving Liverpool career is still not beyond Balotelli

A first Premier League goal for the Reds could spur Balotelli to bigger things.

It may have taken Mario Balotelli until February to score his first Premier League goal for Liverpool, but there will be the hope that this becomes a stepping stone towards a promising and successful career at Anfield.

His winner in the 3-2 victory over Tottenham came in his 13th top-flight appearance for the club and this record is not too dissimilar to other Premier League strikers in the past, who have gone on to score and impress with far greater regularity.

Here are four such examples of slow-burning strikers that simply needed some time to settle in before banging in the goals.

Berbatov, Anelka, Henry, Crouch and Balotelli

Thierry Henry

Only Alan Shearer and Andy Cole have scored more Premier League goals in total than Henry’s 176 for Arsenal, but it’s fair to say that he didn’t hit the ground running.

The Frenchman failed to score in his first seven Gunners appearances in the top-flight and after 12 games, he had only troubled the scorers once.

But between March and May 2000, Henry netted 12 times in 10 Arsenal matches in all competitions. Is Balotelli capable of something similar for Liverpool?


Dimitar Berbatov

Berbatov ended his first Premier League season at Tottenham with 12 goals and then followed up with another 15 in the 2007/08 campaign before transferring to Manchester United for a fee in excess of £30 million.

Such a transfer sum may have looked unlikely in the earlier rungs of the Bulgarian’s White Hart Lane career, as he kicked off with just the one goal in his first nine Premier League appearances.

He did net 13 times in all competitions for Spurs in the second half of his maiden season.


Nicolas Anelka

Liverpool supporters surely wish that Gerard Houllier opted to make Anelka’s loan deal from PSG permanent at the end of the 2001/02 season, rather than signing El Hadji Diouf to boost the club’s striking ranks instead.

Having arrived in December, it took Anelka until his 10th Premier League appearance for the Reds to break his scoreless streak. Like Balotelli, it arrived in a big game with Anelka grabbing an equaliser in a Merseyside derby.

His impact was memorable to help guide Liverpool into second spot in the final standings, which included goals in the club’s last two Premier League matches of the season.


Peter Crouch

When considering goal droughts, Crouch’s striking woes are arguably the most memorable after going 11 matches without a Premier League goal for Liverpool and 18 in all competitions when signing from Southampton.

His first goal in a victory over Wigan was even debateable as it was only overturned on appeal having initially been given as an own goal.

In Crouch’s three years at Liverpool he won an FA Cup, played in a Champions League final and was the club’s top scorer in all competitions in the 2007/08 campaign.


Then there are other strikers that largely fail to use a long-awaited first goal for a new club as a springboard towards better things for that team.