Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt that Luis Suarez could have made the difference in their 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton.
The Uruguayan forward served the last match of his 10-game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic last season and was in the stands on Saturday to see Dejan Lovren's header eight minutes into the second half hand Liverpool their first defeat of the campaign.
Rodgers felt that Suarez's presence in the side could have turned the loss into a victory.
"On days like today players like him can make the difference," he said.
"It's going to be great to have him back. The big positive from today is that his ban has finished.
"He's in good condition, he's been playing games and doing work with the conditioning teams. He won't be 100 per cent but he's a worker and a fighter so he'll just need to get games to bring him up to full speed."
Rodgers started the game with four centre-backs across his defence, with Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sahko filling the two full-back roles.
The Northern Irishman admitted that it was not an ideal situation but that his hand was forced by injuries, although Andre Wisdom, Martin Kelly and Luis Enrique were all named among the substitutes.
"It didn't help, but it's what we've got in terms of bodies," he said.
"We've got a number of injuries. Glen Johnson is out injured and Martin Kelly is only returning and trying to build up his fitness.
"Jose Enrique has a bit of problem in his knee so we'll have to try and manage him through these next few games.
"They (Toure and Sahko) can play in those roles but that's what we had available so it was a case of making do. You lose a bit of that offensive threat but they coped as well as they could."
Rodgers, whose side sat top of the Premier League table at the start of the weekend, conceded that he was disappointed with the way his team performed.
"We never got going," he added.
"Technically we were nowhere near the level we've been at recently. We were lethargic and it's a very disappointing performance and result for us.
"We've been on a tremendous run but we never got going and we suffered for that."
|Coach: B. Rodgers|
for Iago Aspas 46'
for D. Agger 57'
for M. Škrtel 72'
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