Raheem Sterling will push on and help to fill the void left by the exit of Luis Suarez, according to Liverpool hero Ray Houghton.
The Reds let their talismanic striker head to Barcelona in a £75m deal over the summer, leaving a gaping hole in their front-line.
Brendan Rodgers’ side did manage to open their Premier League campaign with a 2-1 home win against Southampton, but the performance left plenty of room for improvement as the Merseysiders laboured at times against the Saints.
One major positive for the club was the role Sterling played in the victory, with the teenager netting the opener and laying on the assist for Daniel Sturridge’s late winner.
The 19-year-old was one of the stars of Liverpool’s shock title push over the back end of last season, and is being widely hailed as one of the very best young players in European football.
Despite his tender age, Houghton believes that the Jamaican-born winger will play a massive role for the club this season and that his contributions will lessen the impact of Suarez’s exit:
“They’re going to have to do that [improve] because they’ve lost their main player in Suarez,” he told talkSPORT.
“They’re going to have to compensate for that in other ways. Others are going to have to step up and take more responsibility in that final third to score more goals.
“Certainly we saw that with Sterling yesterday. He showed signs he‘s going to be a real threat. I think he’s going have a fantastic season. He’s got real ability, he’s really settled down now and he’s understanding his position in the side.
“I think he’s going to be there week in, week out, he’s not going to be just a bit part player for them, he’s going to be a main player for them. I think that’s going to be very important for Liverpool.”