LIVERPOOL 2 vs STOKE CITY 0
LIVERPOOL manager Kenny Dalglish tipped Luis Suarez to take the Premier League by storm after the £23m deadline-day signing scored just 17 minutes after climbing off the bench for his debut.
Suarez wasted no time in filling the void left by former Kop darling and new Chelsea recruit Fernando Torres, adding to a Raul Meireles goal to wrap up a third successive Reds win and keep European hopes alive.
Dalglish revealed the Uruguayan had not even trained with his team-mates yet owing to red tape following his switch from Ajax, and insisted he would go from strength to strength once given time to acclimatise.
“He got his work permit yesterday and was in the squad tonight, so when he starts training with the lads I think we may see a wee improvement,” said Dalglish.
“It’s a great start to score on your debut and he worked hard. I don’t know his fitness levels but we’re not going to put any timescale on it – he’ll be fit when he is ready, but he’s not bad as he is.”
Suarez’s 79th-minute effort went in via Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson, who failed in his attempts to scramble it clear – not that Dalglish was prepared to let it go down as an own goal.
“I gave it to him. It was going in, wasn’t it? He can have the first goal as well if he wants it,” he joked.
Injury prevented £35m Andy Carroll, the more expensive and surprising of Liverpool’s Monday purchases, from making his playing bow, although the 22-year-old (inset) was presented to an adoring Anfield crowd before kick-off.
The sense of a changing of the guard was augmented by the removal of a huge mural of Torres from outside the stadium earlier in the day. And on the pitch the players quickly put the frenzied transfer business behind them.
Glen Johnson and Dirk Kuyt both tested Asmir Begovic before Meireles opened the scoring just after the break, crashing home a loose ball from 10 yards. Suarez then capped a dream start by sprinting clear and rounding Begovic.
Victory kept Liverpool in seventh, six points behind fifth-placed Tottenham.