LUIS SUAREZ sent Liverpool a good luck message before yesterday's opening victory over Southampton at Anfield.
The Uruguay internationalist joined Barcelona in the summer for £75m in the wake of another biting furore and a four-month ban, and his old strike partner Daniel Sturridge scored the winner 10 minutes from time after Nathaniel Clyne had cancelled out Raheem Sterling's first-half goal - although Brendan Rodgers still hopes to sign a striker.
"Our ambitions at Liverpool have to be bigger than one player," said the Liverpool manager in relation to Suarez. "He sent us a lovely text wishing us all the best, which was a great gesture. I texted him back. It's a real love-in. He's a great boy but he is gone. We do still want a striker but that will depend on availability."
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Sturridge's goal was his 36th in 50 appearances and only George Allan, from Linlithgow Bridge, with 41 in the late 19th century, has scored more goals in his first half-century of games for Liverpool. The England forward was the Barclays Premier League's second-highest scorer with 21 after Suarez's 31 last season.
"For Daniel, it was just a continuation, showing he can get goals," said Rodgers. "It was a poacher's goal, one of those where you anticipate a knockdown. Raheem's was a great pass, great speed, touch and finish."
Liverpool finished last season with 16 wins and 53 goals from 19 games at home, a run of form Rodgers will be hoping to replicate.
"We had to grind out a result. It was a tough game and I am happy with that determination and character," he added. "You want to make a good start and that first win can set the tone - it certainly did last season.
Despite some predictions of a tough time for Southampton after a summer exodus of players and manager, they looked capable of repeating their win here last season.
"We played a great second half, after 1-1. There was one team on the pitch playing and it was Southampton," said their new manager Ronald Koeman. "We had a chance to score the second one, two great opportunities, but the quality of Liverpool . . . they don't need many chances to score and it makes the difference."