John Aldridge believes the increased competition for places at Liverpool already made a difference during the 2-1 victory over Southampton, and expects extra depth to bring long-term success too.

The Reds kicked off their 2014-15 Barclays Premier League challenge with three points from a testing home encounter with the Saints, requiring a late Daniel Sturridge effort to secure the positive result.

Brendan Rodgers utilised the options available in his squad to introduce Joe Allen and Rickie Lambert in the second half, later explaining how a subtle formation switch proved crucial.

Providing his own reflections on a hard-fought opening weekend win for his former club, Aldridge also pointed to the impact achieved by the pair of substitutes.

"Joe added energy and pace to our midfield, and Rickie's presence seemed to unsettle Southampton's defence," he wrote in his Liverpool Echo column.

"They dropped off when he came on, and Liverpool were able to get the ball into the box."

With the injured summer signings Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic soon to return and Alberto Moreno now in the ranks after his transfer from Sevilla, Aldridge anticipates helpful battles for starting berths.

He continued: "There is real competition now at Anfield - two players for every position.

"And when the likes of Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno are factored in, it will be a real challenge just to get into the starting XI."