Liverpool Daniel Sturridge Southampton Fraser Forster Clyne
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge scores the winner against Southampton in the English Premier LeagueReuters

Luis Suarez might no longer be a part of Liverpool, but Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling sure are; and the duo continued to find the goals with aplomb as the Reds scraped past an impressive Southampton side in a wonderfully entertaining English Premier League game at Anfield.

There was a "will we be all right without Suarez" feeling hanging around Anfield as Liverpool kicked off their Premier League campaign, and that feeling reduced as Sterling ran behind the defence, like he did so often last season, to score the opening goal, before worries cropped up again when Nathaniel Clyne equalised with a wonderful goal early in the second half.

But in came the man who has been handed the inspirational goalscoring mantle – Sturridge – to pop up with the winner 11 minutes from time to earn Liverpool a precious three points against Ronald Koeman's "we might be in rebuilding mode, but we are still good" men.

There was no familiar "Ok that's four goals inside 15 minutes" from Liverpool this time around, not without their goalscoring terrier in the lineup, but there was still that familiar quick attacking football on display.

Southampton were more than happy to give Liverpool the ball and sit back, and despite that the home side kept finding spaces in behind with the likes of Sturridge and Sterling sniffing at any possible chance.

A couple of chances, one made by a beautiful pass from Steven Gerrard, came and went, with the Saints looking a tad dangerous on the counter-attack as well, with their new hulky centre-forward in Graziano Pelle, brought in to replace Rickie Lambert, who signed for Liverpool in the summer, making an early impression.

Another former Southampton man Dejan Lovren, though, was a rock at the back, and denied any chance that Southampton had with a firm foot or an even firmer header, as Liverpool's third summer signing from St. Mary's – Adam Lallana – watched on from the stands.

It took Liverpool only 23 minutes though to get their season up and running and it was a familiar face that found the back of the net. Jordan Henderson won the ball in midfield and then picked out an inch-perfect through ball for Sterling to run onto and slot past Fraser Forster.

Ronaldo Koeman would have been interested to see just how his Southampton side, which included Morgan Schneiderlin, despite all the transfer rumours, would respond, and they did reasonably well as James Ward-Prowse, one of the better players for the away side in the first half, and Schneiderlin himself, came close, forcing a couple of saves from Simon Mignolet.

If Liverpool were expected to jump out of the blocks early in the second half and put the game to bed, the fans at Anfield were in for a surprise as Southampton caught fire, giving the home side the wobbles.

Saints took the game to Liverpool in the second 45 and duly got their equaliser, a lovely one too. Clyne played a one-two with Dusan Tadic, who was a little erratic on his debut, even if there was nothing erratic about the pass that found Clyne through on goal – a wonderful backheel – with the right-back making no mistake by applying a thumping finish on 56 minutes.

Southampton could have easily gone into the lead soon after as Steven Davis was presented with a couple of opportunities, the second one a chance he really should have buried as Liverpool looked nervous.

The more Southampton attacked, the more worried the home side's fans grew, but Liverpool always have that extra attacking power in their locker.

In came Lambert to realise his dream of playing for Liverpool, and with the big man up front, in came a cross from the right, which Sterling, of all people, got up to head, off an initial clearance from Victor Wanyama, it must be said, with Sturridge just helping the ball along into the bottom corner to make it 2-1.

Southampton did not fade away easily, though, and they would have made it 2-2 had it not been for an outstanding save and a glaring miss. Pelle headed down for Schneiderlin to power through a drive from 12 yards, which Mignolet somehow saved onto the post, with Shane Long, making his Southampton debut, missing the follow up with an open goal screaming to be found.

It was to be Liverpool's day, however, as they showed enough fight to convince a few at least that they still might be right up there in the Premier League title stakes, sans Suarez.

Also read