(CNN) -- Reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City began the new season as they ended the last, at the top of the table.
But City were made to work hard for their 2-0 victory against a lively Newcastle United side.
The match began with floral tributes for two Newcastle fans who died when flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine last month killing all 298 on board.
John Alder and Liam Sweeney were traveling to New Zealand to watch their team play in a preseason tournament before tragedy struck.
On 17 minutes the stadium broke out into a minute's applause in their honor.
On the pitch Newcastle more than matched City, creating almost as many chances. Crucially, they couldn't get a single shot on target and with half time approaching, Bosnian international Edin Dzeko superbly controlled a long ball over the top of the defense before back-heeling it into the path of David Silva who slotted home.
"I think we deserved it," Man of the Match Dzeko told Sky Sports after the game. "We played aggressive and they didn't have any chances."
A late second
That wasn't strictly true. Newcastle pressed in the second half and with a little more composure could have snatched an equalizer.
Instead, substitute Sergio Aguero fired the ball home at the second attempt in injury time to add some gloss to the scoreline.
"It was frustrating for us because in the second half we pushed on, brought some younger players on who were a little naive but threatened with their pace," Newcastle coach Alan Pardew told Sky Sports.
"We looked like we might win it," he added.
Earlier in the day, Liverpool began life without Luis Suarez with a 2-1 victory over Southampton.
Suarez had been in phenomenal form since his arrival at Anfield in 2011, scoring 69 goals in 110 games. Last season had been his best yet, driving Liverpool to a second place finish and narrowly missing out on the club's first Premier League title.
Yet his time had always been filled with controversy.
He arrived after serving a suspension for biting a player whilst playing in the Dutch league, and was suspended again for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
He was also banned for allegedly racially abusing then-Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
However, after being sanctioned for biting a player at this summer's World Cup finals -- a four month ban from all football related activities -- Liverpool sold him to Barcelona.
A solid start
It was a solid, if unspectacular, start for life without Suarez. Raheem Sterling, one of the players to shine most alongside the Uruguayan last season, opened the scoring with a superb side foot finish from a wonderful Jordan Henderson through ball.
Southampton equalized with aplomb, Nathaniel Clyne smashing home into the top right hand corner, and had much the better of the second half.
Yet it was the diminutive Sterling who somehow won a header in Southampton's penalty box which was guided home by fellow England international Daniel Sturridge.
"He sent us a lovely text this morning wishing us all the best, which was a great gesture. He is a friend now of Liverpool," coach Brendan Rodgers said of Suarez after the game, according to the Press Association.
"I texted him back. It's a real love in! He's a great boy but he is gone now ... Today was about winning and we got there."