London – Defending was problematic for Liverpool on Saturday, but according to Kolo Toure it wasn’t as hard as it had been at Melwood in the days before Southampton’s visit.
“Luis Suarez has been very difficult to play against in training,” said Toure. “His return is going to be massive for us.”
If there was any doubt about whether Suarez will be handed an instant recall against Manchester United on Wednesday, having served a 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, it was removed by an abysmal Liverpool display, one of their worst under Brendan Rodgers.
Liverpool have coped well while Suarez has been out but Southampton was a game too far.
The only positive Rodgers could draw from his side’s first defeat of the campaign was about Suarez. The truth is that Liverpool do not have enough world-class players and Southampton exposed their shortcomings.
It is risible to think, then, that Rodgers will do anything other than play Suarez from the start at Old Trafford on Wednesday in the Capital One Cup.
“Suarez is a fantastic player,” Toure added. “We have had Daniel Sturridge playing so well but Suarez will strengthen the team. The two of them will be a very strong partnership.
“Will he be ready? You saw from his international appearance for Uruguay. In the first game he’d played for a while he scored twice.”
Rodgers fielded four central defenders against Southampton but the tactic backfired and the goal they conceded to Dejan Lovren was entirely of their own making.
“The four central defenders raised a couple of eyebrows,” said Southampton captain Adam Lallana, a boyhood Everton fan. “They like to play out from the back and we just played a high-pressing game. We made them play long.”
That will surely have been noted by United’s scouting delegation. Rodgers, however, is adamant that a different Liverpool will be on show on Wednesday. He said: “This has hurt but we’ve got one of the world’s leading strikers coming back. That will give us a lift.” – Daily Mail