Alongside Downing sat Jordan Henderson, who also had to settle for a seat on the bench. Much like Downing, Henderson also received a lot of criticism last season having cost the Merseyside club £16million. Henderson was a key figure in his former club Sunderland's side, but the step up to Liverpool for Henderson was a difficult one and was not helped with such a big fee paid for him. Performances last year under Dalglish were below par and a call up to the England squad for the Euro's last summer sparked much controversy. In his place though yesterday was Joe Allen. Having only played one season for Swansea in the top division, Allen was brought in by Rogers. At £15million, you may say that Liverpool have once again paid over the odds for a young midfield player. However in his first two games Allen has shown why he will be a valuable asset to them this year. In yesterdays game against Manchester City, Allen completed 93.5 per cent of his passes. At just 22, Allen could well be one of the signings of the season, especially if he has a similar season to the one he had with Swansea. But just like Downing, if Allen continues the way he's started, Jordan Henderson will be twiddling his thumbs on the Liverpool bench.
At the back, Sebastian Coates, the Uruguayan centre back, was used to partner Martin Skrtel ahead of club legend Jamie Carragher. Coates was brought in by Dalglish last season, and only featured ten times last season at the back. With Daniel Agger out through suspension, Coates was given his first start of the season yesterday and would have been happy with his performance against Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. The 21 year old may be used more as a back up this year but certainly has a long future at Anfield and definitely under Brendan Rogers.
So Liverpool fans can expect to see more of Sterling and co this year. Yesterdays performance will give fans some hope that the team can improve on last season's poor efforts. Rogers is keen to bring youth to the team and after yesterdays performance there is a lot of encouragement to take into the season.