Throughout the summer, Liverpool would have been haunted by last season’s collapse in the title race and the thought they might never get a better chance to end their 24-year wait to be champions of England.
As they embark on the new campaign without last season’s inspiration Luis Suarez, those fears have now become even more pronounced.
It is hard not to overstate the impact Suarez had on Liverpool last season and how he pulled them towards the Premier League title.
The Uruguayan scored 31 goals in 33 games, all in the Premier League, and provided 12 assists to scoop up all the Player of the Year awards.
Suarez’s pace, awareness, movement, and those incisive runs that almost defied being properly marked made Liverpool a dangerous and thrilling side.
Liverpool have tried not to see Suarez’s £75 million defection to Barcelona as a major obstacle this summer, but rather as an opportunity to rebuild and augment their squad.
Brendan Rodgers has bought in bulk, bringing in a total of eight new players, but only one of them is a striker in Rickie Lambert.
With two weeks of the transfer window remaining, Liverpool are bound to be still interested in adding another striker, someone to take the pressure off Daniel Sturridge.
Lambert is an astute addition, but he doesn’t fit into the system Rodgers played last season and is likely to be used more as an impact substitute.
Last season, Liverpool also had the distinct advantage of being absent from Europe.
It meant players like Suarez were fresher, there were fewer injuries sustained and they had a whole week to plot how to win each Premier League fixture.
Liverpool obviously celebrated their return to the Champions League, but it will crowd their fixture list and make their efforts to win the title a lot more difficult this season.
In Liverpool’s opening game of the season on Sunday they laboured to a 2-1 win over a spirited Southampton.
The atmosphere at Anfield was subdued and nervous at times, and the relief at Sturridge’s late winner could be seen in Rodgers' celebratory dash on to the pitch.
As reported in The Daily Telegraph Sturridge shrugged off Suarez’s absence after yesterday’s win by saying "There's pressure on me to get the goals, now, with Luis out of the team. We've showed today we can move on without Luis. We can win games and score goals."
Liverpool will certainly win plenty of games and continue to score goals, but without Suarez it is unlikely to be enough to finish the season as champions.
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