England duo net as Reds win

England duo Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge starred as Liverpool began the post-Suarez era with a 2-1 victory against Southampton at Anfield.

As Liverpool lined up with five England internationals in their midst, it was Sterling who gave the Reds the lead on 23 minutes with a cool finish after being picked out by an inch-perfect pass from Three Lions’ team-mate Jordan Henderson.

The midfielder won the ball in his own half before beating Morgan Schneiderlin and setting Sterling through.

Sterling made no mistake and calmly slotted into the corner, giving debutant Fraser Forster no chance.

It was a lead Liverpool held until the break, before Nathaniel Clyne stepped up to score the goal of the game.

Jumping for joy. Raheem Sterling celebrates his opener against Southampton.

After playing a one-two with new man Dusan Tadic – Clyne latched on to a smart backheel and fired home into the roof of the net. A stunning strike.

However, the Saints could not hang on to leave Merseyside with a share of the points.

As the game approached the final ten minutes up stepped Sturridge to score what would prove to be the winner.

On 79 minutes Liverpool opted to go direct. A cross was half cleared and Sterling headed it back into the danger zone – where the England striker was able to pounce and nudge over the line.

Despite a couple of late scares, Brendan Rodgers’ side were able to hang on to claim a valuable three points.

And speaking after the game Liverpool’s match winner said it was an important result as Liverpool look to hit the ground running as they get used to life without Suarez.

“We have shown we can win games, score goals and defend as well”

Daniel Sturridge

“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.

“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!”

“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.”

Asked if Liverpool were stronger without Suarez, Sturridge added: “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.

Tributes were paid to Newcastle fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney who died in the Malaysian Airlines tragedy

“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.”

It was an emotional day in the north-east in the day’s second game as Newcastle United paid a moving tribute to John Alder and Liam Sweeney – who were tragically killed on flight MH17 as they headed to New Zealand to watch the club’s pre-season tour.

Joe Hart was given the nod to start in goal by Manuel Pellegrini as City ran out 2-0 winners at St. James’ Park.

David Silva and Sergio Aguero were on the scoresheet for the champions to ensure they got the defence of their title off to a winning start.

Silva opened the scoring on 38 minutes after an exquisite backheel by Edin Dzeko played the Spanish international in, before a stoppage time strike from substitute Aguero sealed the victory for the Citizens.