Football

Reds' new SAS strikerforce

LIVERPOOL 2

(Raheem Sterling 23, Daniel Sturridge 79)

SOUTHAMPTON 1

(Nathaniel Clyne 56)

Liverpool have a new "SAS" partnership up front after Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge saw off Southampton.

The sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona not only saw Liverpool's title credentials questioned, but also ended his lethal partnership with Sturridge.

The England striker did not look lost without him yesterday, though, as he and Sterling both scored in a 2-1 victory over the Saints.

"It's important as a collective unit that we all provide the goals, but it doesn't matter how many we get so long as we defend well and get the goals we need," Sturridge told Sky Sports 1.

"I think with ourselves and the other boys, especially the ones the manager has brought in, with myself and Raheem we have a connection.

"We go out there and have a laugh and a joke on the training field, but we go on the pitch and give each other abuse at times but we like to get the best out of each other.

"I'm the older brother, so I give him more stick than he gives me."

Their goals came either side of a Nathaniel Clyne equaliser and Sturridge's, in particular, eased the nerves after the unfancied visitors came on strong.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was a delighted man.

"We scored two very good goals and we're delighted about the win," Rodgers said.

"In terms of the character and desire and the will to win, we were exceptional. The first game is always difficult," Sturridge added.

"The pace was high, we worked hard and controlled things but, when they got a goal, it was difficult for us.

"But we got the result and that's what matters."

GOOD LUCK FROM SUAREZ

Asked if Liverpool were stronger without Suarez, Sturridge said: "I think so, with the players we have brought in. No disrespect to Luis - he's a great player and he'll be missed - but we move on from that.

"We have shown we can win games, score goals and defend as well. But with the little man (Sterling) and the other players producing the goods, we'll be okay."

Meanwhile, Suarez sent his old teammates a good-luck message ahead of the match, Rodgers revealed yesterday.

"Luis Suarez sent us a lovely text (message) this morning, wishing us all the best and telling us to start strong - it's a lovely gesture," Rodgers said.

"He sent the text to me personally. What did it say? Don't be so nosey!

"I texted him back. It's a great love-in I've got with him! He's a great boy, but he's gone.

"It was a lovely touch. Liverpool will always be in his heart." - Wire Services.