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Premier League

Glen Johnson: Liverpool can start well again without Luis Suarez

Uruguayan moved to Barcelona for £75m last month

Glen Johnson has insisted that Liverpool are not worried about the effect losing Luis Suarez will have on their charge for domestic and European honours ahead of the forthcoming season.

The Uruguayan’s 31 goals almost propelled the Anfield club to their first domestic title since 1990 but for a late-season collapse which allowed Manchester City to be crowned champions.

Yet, with manager Brendan Rodgers working feverishly in the transfer market since the departure of Suarez, Johnson is confident Liverpool will compete strongly on all fronts.

“Any team that loses a player like Luis is going to feel it,” Johnson said yesterday, “but we will carry on the way we do, creating chances. I think we were the team who created the most chances last season, we’ve signed some good strikers and I’m sure once they get a chance they will take it.

“It gets overlooked that we played the first six games of last season without Luis and made a fantastic start, so we can clearly win without Luis.

“I think [Manchester United] will provide a stronger challenge this season. Obviously, they didn’t have a great year last year when not much went their way. But I’m pretty sure [new manager Louis] Van Gaal will settle the ship, get what he wants out of his players and I’m sure they will be a lot tougher to beat this year. It will probably be the usual five, then a surprise packet.”

Johnson added: “We were definitely fresher for not playing Europe last season. And the size of the squad we had last season we probably could not have coped with all the extra games. It was probably an advantage last year.

“We’re going to have a lot more games this season but, hopefully, we can keep everyone fit and keep fighting.”