- Premier League
Rodgers: Liverpool needed SuarezESPN staff September 21, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Stenson falters but still leads by four »
Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool missed the banned Luis Suarez as Southampton condemned them to a first defeat of the season.
Dejan Lovren scored the second-half winner as Liverpool lost for the first time in six months.
And with Suarez having now completed his ten-match suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season, Rodgers admitted the Reds did not threaten the visitors' goal enough.
He said: "Sometimes players like him who are magical can make the difference in games like this. The big positive from today is the fact he is back and the ban is finished."
Suarez can make his return in Wednesday's Capital One Cup tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford and Rodgers believes he is in the right shape to excel.
He said: "He is in good condition. He has been playing games behind closed doors and doing specific work with the conditioning team. He's a worker and a fighter and he just needs to get games to bring him up to full speed."
Rodgers said he was unhappy with his side's performance as well as the result against Southampton.
"Both were very disappointing. We never got going from the off. It was a bit lethargic," he said. "Technically we were short and we looked flat and slow in our game."
Rodgers picked a defence with four specialist centre-backs and still conceded from a corner, with Lovren heading in his first Saints goal.
"We gave away a really poor goal," Rodgers said. "To lose a goal like that was criminal."
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino, though, lauded the effort put in by his team and in particular goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
"He was great," he said. "Our performance was outstanding."
Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.