It was a debut night at Anfield for more than just the 2012-2013 Liverpool team, as Fabio Borini and Brendan Rodgers got their first taste of their new fans, happily making it through the second leg with Gomel with flying colors, beating the Belarusians 3-0, scoring courtesy of Fabio Borini, Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson.
But Liverpool’s best player was Luis Suarez, without any goals, but setting up the first two. Buoyed by the fact that he got a new and improved contract, the Uruguayan put all of the troubles with English fans outside of Liverpool and the disappointing Olympic tournament with the U-23 side behind him and simply gave a fantastic performance. Despite the rivals, it’s one of those matches that makes you believe in Suarez being one of the top strikers in Europe for his dribbling skills and off the ball movement, although his scoring record at Anfield has yet to show it.
More than everything, it was a confidence builder. For Steven Gerrard, getting used to his new-old partner in the midfield, Lucas. For Lucas Leiva, slowly claiming his spot back in the lineup with another one of those games in which you don’t really notice him, which means he did a good job. For Fabio Borini, looking a bit more industrious and relaxed in his second Liverpool match, scoring his first goal for the club and showing the Reds his familiar cuts-like-a-knife celebration.
And it showed us Rodgers’ plans – Borini and Suarez up front, Gerrard and Lucas in the middle, Downing on one of the wings while the club are still looking for another addition. Andy Carroll, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Jamie Carragher are substitutes in Rodgers’ initial plans, with Liverpool hoping to complete the signing of Joe Allen next week which will push Shelvey back to the bench, although he has proven more than once over the last 12 months he might deserve a spot in the starting lineup.
A lot has been said about Daniel Agger over the last couple of weeks, but he made his presence felt, playing his first match of the season. Rodgers conceded that a big offer from Manchester City, something along the lines of £22-25 million will be too much for Liverpool to refuse. But they’re not looking at any centre backs at the moment, which means they’re not counting on Agger being sold. Maybe he doesn’t like the situation, but that’s the way it is right now.