Liverpool struggle to three points against Southampton

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Yes, they missed him, of course they missed him; any team that loses the best player in the country as part of their summer transfer dealings is going to have a huge hole to fill when they start playing again. What is important is that Liverpool got their first win of the post-Suarez era against Southampton, not how they did it.

In truth it was a scrappy performance, devoid of much creativity for the Reds - Jordan Henderson’s through ball for Raheem Sterling’s opener aside - and Liverpool looked like they missed some of the creativity, impudence and tenacity that Suarez brought to every performance. Crucially, however, what they did not miss was his scoring prowess.

Clinical finishing

Despite carving out very few chances in side he 90 minutes, Liverpool were clinical with their finishing, scoring from the only two good opportunities they really had as Sterling and Sturridge continued from where they left off last season.

This, combined with a slightly less leaky looking defence than was on display last season, means Liverpool may well be once again capable of a top-four push, particularly with new signings Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic to come back into the fold and add some creativity after their injuries in pre-season.

There were, of course, some negatives, with Lucas Leiva looking well off the pace both physically and mentally and Glen Johnson once again failing to inspire. These problems can both fortunately be solved by like-for-like replacements in Emre Can and Alberto Moreno respectively, and it would not be too much of a surprise to see them come in for Liverpool’s next game.

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Mignolet pressure

Something that may worry Brendan Rodgers slightly more, however, particularly as he now has no back up option after Pepe Reina’s sale, is Simon Mignolet’s struggle under the high ball. There is no doubt he remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the league, as he demonstrated with a great save from Morgan Schneiderlin in the dying minutes but he flapped at a number of crosses and looked uncomfortable during several of Southampton’s set plays.

Rodgers will be aware of these criticisms himself though, and in the context of the season, few will remember that Southampton probably deserved to win the game. What mattered to Liverpool was winning the game and moving on from Luis Suarez, which they achieved, albeit by the skin of their teeth.

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