It’s one game into the English Premier League season in the post-Luis Suarez era for Liverpool, and it’s so far so good. Despite a rather uninspired effort, Liverpool got a late goal from Daniel Sturridge to lift them to victory against a surprisingly surprisingly feisty Southampton squad.
It wasn’t the most impressive three points Liverpool is likely to earn this season, but they did enough in their first EPL match without Suarez to indicate that they’ll be fine without him.
It would be foolish to think that there won’t be some period of adjustment early in the season without Suarez, and that was evident in the opener against Southampton. At times, Liverpool were lacking in energy and spirit, and were unable provide high pressure, all things that Suarez gave them last season. Without Suarez, Liverpool also lack a goal scorer who strikes instant fear into opposing defenses and can be a threat at any moment to create a scoring opportunity.
However, collectively and tactically, Liverpool have enough to overcome the absence of Suarez this season. By scoring the game-winning goal late, Sturridge showed that he can be the type of lead striker who can score big goals in key moments. With his goal in the first half that initially put Liverpool on top of Southampton, Raheem Sterling signaled that he may be ready to take on a larger role this season and combine with Sturridge to form a dynamic duo.
There is also the creativity of formations and tactics from manager Brendan Rodgers, as well as a strong Liverpool midfield that can help to create goals this season without Suarez to rely upon.
Obviously, making up the absence of Suarez is a massive undertaking for Liverpool after the season he had for them last year, and there will be adjustments along the way as well as setbacks. But ultimately, Liverpool have a manager, a well-rounded roster, and a rising scoring duo of Sturridge and Sterling to survive without Suarez.
In the long run, Liverpool will be just fine in the EPL this season.