John Barnes on TWO players Liverpool are missing badly

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes that the absence of Daniel Sturridge is equally as important to the side’s poor start as Luis Suarez leaving this summer for Barcelona.

Last season, Liverpool's much coveted SAS - Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge - nearly defied the odds and blasted the Reds to Premier League glory despite being largely overlooked at the start of the season. 

Liverpool's heartache very much came in the last three games of the season where, after 11 wins on the bounce, they lost out to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side at Anfield. The Reds then followed that up with a horrific capitulation at Selhurst Park which saw them throw away a three-goal lead in the last 15 minutes. 

Many supporters expected Liverpool to bounce back from their disappointment, stronger for when the new season started. However,  following on from Suarez's exit, Liverpool have struggled to step up and the new signings, until now, have failed to improve the quality of the team.

Nevertheless, John Barnes has dismissed suggestions that the capitulation is completely down to Suarez's exit, and believes that a few factors need to be considered.

''It's been a combination of a few events,' Barnes explained when asked about Liverpool's start in The Liverpool Echo. ''Obviously Suarez going is one, but Suarez going isn't enough for us to capitlate as we have done. I think Sturridge missing is equally as important.

''And it's just a question of new players bedding in. When you have new players coming into a team, you have to give them time to bed in. There are times when new players come to a team, as the team I came into and really hit the ground running and everything. 

''Last season, it was a new team and they came in and really just performed well, but that is a bonus. You have to really give players time to bed in.

''The lallanas, the Markovics, and all these young players, the Balotellis. Yeah it would have been great to have them all hit the ground running and carry on from last year, but because they haven't doesn't it won't happen.''

The former England midfielder really emphasised on allowing new players time to bed in, which is fair enough, but with such a slow start in comparison to their main title rivals - Manchester City and Chelsea - they will have to dig deep and pray on a miracle in order to get back into the fold. 

Suarez, who comes back in contention for Barcelona this weekend following his lengthy ban, would still not have been eligible to play a game for the Reds this season, so the argument does lose its affect of how it would have changed Liverpool's start to the campaign. 

Four points adrift off Manchester City, and a massive nine points off Chelsea, at this point in the season, does little for the confidence that Liverpool can win the league. However, given their progress over the past two seasons, a successive Champions League finish would still be an achievement for the Reds. 

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