LIVERPOOL (AFP) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits the return of Luis Suarez cannot come soon enough after his side surrendered their unbeaten Premier League record with a 1-0 defeat against Southampton.
Dejan Lovren scored the only goal of the game for Southampton in the second half at Anfield on Saturday and, despite long spells of possession, Liverpool were unable to get back on level terms.
Deprived of Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who is out with a shoulder injury, Liverpool struggled to break down a disciplined Southampton defence.
However, Rodgers isn't worried because he believes the imminent return of controversial Uruguay striker Suarez from suspension will do much to address the lack of spark in the final third of the pitch.
Suarez, who attempted to enginner a move to Arsenal in pre-season before being forced to stay, has now served the final game of his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season and is in contention to feature in their League Cup third-round tie at Manchester United on Wednesday.
"I think that's a positive; the fact that he is back now, the ban has finished and he's available from next week," Rodgers said.
"Sometimes in these games it's players like Luis who can make the difference. It's going to be great to have him back.
"I think he's in a good condition and he's been playing games, both behind closed doors and ones that have been organised for him. He's been doing a lot of specific work with the conditioning teams.
"He's obviously not going to be 100 per cent, when you come into these sorts of cup games that are at a greater intensity.
"But he's a worker and he's a fighter and his condition is good. He's in a good place. He just needs to get games to bring him right up to full speed."