Mario Balotelli is off and running.

Balotelli scored his first goal for Liverpool on Tuesday, helping the Reds earn a 2-1 win over Bulgarian club Ludogorets in the first game of their 2014-15 UEFA Champions League campaign.

The game was goal-less in the 82nd minute when Liverpool fullback Alberto Moreno floated a cross into the Ludogorets penalty area toward Balotelli. The Italian striker first out-fought two defenders to reach the ball before composing himself and beating goalkeeper Milan Borjan with a well-placed finish.

Mario Balotelli Liverpool Ludogorets

Balotelli joined Liverpool last month in a £16 million ($26.5 million) transfer from Italian club AC Milan. He failed to score in his first two games with Liverpool, and it appeared his goal-less spell would extend to a third until he pounced on Moreno’s delivery.

After the game, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised Balotelli for his predatory instincts.

“It was a wonderful finish from Mario Balotelli,” Rodgers said, according to “We told him to get in the penalty area more often. It was a world-class finish.”

With that first notch in his Liverpool belt, something tells us Balotelli will add to it in the days and weeks to come.

See our live blog of Liverpool-Ludogorets >>

See our coverage of Balotelli’s transfer to Liverpool >>

GIF via Reddit

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@StandardSport