Liverpool 2-1 Southampton: Seven things we learned

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It was a below-par performance from Liverpool at Anfield yesterday, however they battled through to give themselves a 2-1 victory against Southampton. Here are seven things we learned from the Reds' display.

Sturridge is capable of stepping up

With all of the talk about the loss of Luis Suarez, many believed that the Reds could struggle to score goals this season. However, people forgot that Daniel Sturridge played second-fiddle to Suarez last season and still bagged 21 league goals.

The England international proved he has the ability to step up. After a fairly quiet game due to a lack of service, the former Chelsea striker took a gamble when anticipating Raheem Sterling's ceoss smartly placed the ball home from six yards out to earn Liverpool the three points.

He's off the mark for the campaign and when Sturridge did have the ball he looked lively and was unlucky not to be awarded a free-kick just outside the box in the first half. 

Sterling is ever improving

England international Sterling is a player who continues to grow into one of the Premier League's most talented and frightening stars. He showed how much he as matured when he calmly slotted his effort past Fraser Forster at Anfield and intelligently found Sturridge for the second.

His workrate was superb given the lack of service he was getting. He had four shots at the Southampton goal with three on target. Sterling knows he must step up due to the loss of Suarez and he has certainly started how he means to go on.

Liverpool have a player in Lovren

Last season the Reds leaked far too many goals at the back, conceding a total of 50  - 13 more than Manchester City and 23 more than Chelsea. Brendan Rodgers recognised that and drafted in £20 million Dejan Lovren from Southampton.

Based on his debut, Lovren certainly appears to be worth the price tag as he won key tackles and headers and read the play well. He looks a natural-born leader, one who can replace what Jamie Carragher used to do at Anfield. Lovren also brought confidence to the game of Martin Skrtel.

Coutinho must become more versatile

Philippe Coutinho is a magician when he has the ball and can do wonders by cutting through defences. However, he was man-marked yesterday by the pair of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin and was never able to get involved in the game.

The Brazilian struggled to adapt to the challenge and did not know what to do differently. It was simple - drop a little deeper to receive the ball and allow Jordan Henderson to advance sooner so the former Inter Milan man could impact the game more.

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Liverpool 2-1 Southampton

Lucas is not good enough

I've never been a fan of Lucas, however yesterday proved that he is not good enough if Liverpool want to challenge for the title. He offered little going forward, playing five-yard passes to either the centre-backs or Steven Gerrard. Defensively, he failed to go with Nathaniel Clyne's run for the Saints equaliser and didn't break down any of the away side's play.

It was surprising to see the Brazilian start considering the heavy speculation that has suggested he could be moving away from the club and that Liverpool have the highly-touted Emre Can now on their books.

He was replaced by Joe Allen after 60 minutes and the Welshman offered much more in terms of going forward and workrate. Considering Liverpool are chasing a top-class striker with a high-wage demand, Lucas can shave that cost of weekly pay and should be sold.

Lambert offers Liverpool a 'Plan B'

Rickie Lambert made his Reds debut yesterday and he highlighted why he has been brought in. The England man displayed how Liverpool can be frustrated by not being able to break down defences and if it were last season it may have finished 1-1.

However Lambert offered the side another style of play. Henderson went wide and whipped two crosses in within five minutes, with one directly leading to the winner.

Southampton should survive

A lot of people have been worried about how the Saints will survive this season, considering they have off-loaded a lot of their squad including Lovren, Lambert and Lallana to Liverpool along with Luke Shaw to Manchester United and Callum Chambers to Arsenal.

Under new manager Ronald Koeman, the Saints looked solid throughout the game. They set up extremely well and worked as a unit when attacking and defending. £10 million signing Forster from Celtic will be a great acquisition, much like Dusan Tadic who showed a great touch and vision. Right-back Clyne was Man of the Match, he showed great ability going froward and defending.

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