Former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel has stressed the importance that Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge carry for the Reds this season as they began life after Luis Suarez with a 2-1 win over Southampton at Anfield yesterday.
The duo were the two men who got on the scoresheet for the Reds as they began the season in the best possible way even though there are plenty to point out the Reds were less than convincing in overcoming the Saints, who were one of only two visiting sides to win at Anfield last season.
Babel, who was signed by Rafa Benitez in the summer of 2007 for around £11.5 million, told TalkSport: "They [Sturridge and Sterling] proved last season, they developed well and I think they are very, very important for Liverpool. I think they will have more responsibilities this season.
“They have had a good start. Even though Luis Suarez is not at the club anymore, I still think they have enough manpower to do well this season."
A lot has been mentioned about Liverpool's ability to cope following the £75 million sale of Suarez to Barcelona. It has been highlighted the need to replace the 31 goals that he scored last season, along with tightening up at the back following a season where they conceded on 50 occasions in the league alone.
The duo made a good start yesterday by grabbing the goals that secured an opening day win for the Reds. Sturridge has been backed to increase his contribution in front of goal even further after finding the net on 24 occasions in all competitions last term, whilst Raheem Sterling is likely to be a regular throughout the campaign this season, as long as he stays free from injury, so one would think he'd be able to build on the 10 goals he netted during the last campaign.
Sturridge and Suarez were dubbed the SAS given their formidable partnership that terrorised several defences in the Premier League last season, but it seems that Sterling is determined to do the same in his own way after adding more potency to the Reds' attack towards the end of last season. With plenty of pace and end product, these two are likely to be a different, if not an equally worrying prospect, for several Premier League back lines.