Ray Houghton: Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho will be huge for Liverpool

Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton urges Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho to step up their game this season.

Luis Suarez was Liverpool’s best player last season and was the star of the show as the Reds finished second in the Premier League.

31 goals and 12 assists in 33 league appearances proved to be crucial in Brendan Rodgers’s side coming within just a win of clinching the English league title for the first time since 1990.

But the Uruguay international striker has now gone (to Spanish giants Barcelona), leaving a huge hole in Liverpool’s attack – a hole that the Merseyside outfit will probably be unable to fill this season.

However, former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton believes that the team will be able to compensate the loss of Suarez if Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho step up their game this campaign.

‘It’s not a concern for me that they haven’t replaced Suarez’, he told talkSPORT. ‘In many ways you can’t replace a player like Suarez, just like how you can’t replace a Rush or a Dalglish.

‘What you can do is bring others in to play around the strikers who can all do a good job and score enough goals to get you to where you want to be.

‘I think Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho will be huge for Liverpool this season in that respect’.

Both Sterling and Coutinho had a great season in 2013-14, and played key roles in Liverpool’s successful Premier League campaign.

While 19-year-old Sterling was a star on the wings, 22-year-old Brazilian playmaker Coutinho’s creativity and vision down the middle was superb.

Of course, the fact that both had a world-class finisher in Suarez to feed the ball to makes their contribution impressive in terms of stats, but the duo are very good young players who will only improve with the passage of time.

Both Sterling and Coutinho will have to step up this season, so will Liverpool’s main striker Daniel Sturridge.

The England international had the best season of his career in 2013-14, but without Suarez by his side, he will need to carry more of the goalscoring burden.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch