Vital Football

Latest Liverpool FC News

Liverpool: Rodgers Defends Drained Sterling

Liverpool: Rodgers Defends Drained Sterling

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed fatigue is behind Raheem Sterling's recent dip in form and a subsequent omission from the starting eleven...

After bursting onto the scene at the start of the season with a series of exciting displays, Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling has been going through somewhat of a lull in his brief career of late.

The 18-year-old has not started a Premier League game since the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United six weeks ago and when he has seen game time the showings have not reached the heights of previous performances.

For someone at such a formative point in their development this is not exactly surprising however and there should be no cause for undue alarm, as Kop boss Brendan Rodgers explains.

"This is a kid we're talking about so we have to take a wee step back," analysed the Northern Irishman in quotes originally published by the Guardian.

"I dare you to look around Europe and tell me a 17-year-old who has made such an impact in one of the big leagues. There aren't many.

"It is so mentally and physically draining this league. It hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy and played first-team football and earned a contract off that. We have to nurture that and at times he's got to have that mentality to keep learning."

Sterling's presence in the starting eleven has also been affected by the January transfer window purchases of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, both of whom have bolstered the attacking options at Rodgers' disposal.

The form of Stewart Downing has also played its part but even when the new additions were cup-tied for the Europa League games against Zenit Saint Petersburg, Sterling only started one of the two legs.

Even with Liverpool requiring impetus and goals in the second game it was not until the 84th minute that the Jamaican-born speedster was summonsed - some 25 minutes after fellow winger Oussama Assaidi entered the fray.

That said, and despite there still being 11 league games remaining, Rodgers believes Sterling's season can already be defined as a success.

"If he didn't kick another ball this season, he's had a good one," added Rodgers.

"It's a very physically demanding league and what you're seeing now is more tiredness of the legs when before he could go up to people and take them on. That zip has gone and that's down to fatigue. Was that to be expected? Yes it was.

"He will have experienced that before but not in the limelight like it is now. He's made such an impact that everyone is looking at him now.

"But the job is to nurture him. He's started his career at first-team level way before many get the opportunity. He's still got lots of improvement to make in his game. Over the years we will look at his plan and development and act accordingly."

Only Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have made more first-team appearances for Liverpool than Sterling this season and his return currently stands at two goals and five assists.

In November, the former Queens Park Rangers trainee, who made his Liverpool debut last season at the tender age of 17 years and 107 days, earned both his first full England cap and a new five-year contract at Anfield.

Vital Verdict
All players go through tough periods in their careers when they are either out of favour or form has deserted them. Sterling has so much ability and potential that this will hopefully be nothing more than a temporary blip. Although, as Rodgers alludes to, a lot depends on the player himself and if he has the right mentality to give his all day-in and day-out. The youngster has attracted some unsavoury off-field headlines in recent months but hopefully his disappearance from social media is a sign of an increased focus on football.

Follow me on Twitter @superbag

Not a Vital Liverpool member? It's a 100% free to join and get involved. Plus it only takes a few moments to sign up. Click here to become a member now!



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Wednesday February 27 2013
Time: 4:28PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Liverpool Articles

Liverpool: Stats Preview 16/17 - AFC Bournemouth (Away)

A selection of the best facts, figures and statistics ahead of Liverpool's Premier League fixture at Bournemouth

PL2 Player Of The Month For November (2/12/16)

The Premier League have now announced the four youngster who are in the running for the November 2016 Premier League 2 Player of the Month.

Liverpool: Injury Update 16/17 - AFC Bournemouth (Away)

Which players are struggling to be fit for Bournemouth vs. Liverpool?

Vote For The November Awards - 2016/17

The Premier League have now opened voting for the Manager, Player and Goal of the Month awards for November.

Archived Vital Liverpool Articles

Vital Liverpool articles from

Site Journalists

Gavin Kelley-Day
Editor email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Who Will Win vs. AFC Bournemouth (Away)?
Suggested By: Editor
Bournemouth7%
Draw20%
Liverpool73%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 13 10 1 2 31 19
2 Liverpool 13 9 3 1 30 18
3 Man City 13 9 3 1 30 17
4 Arsenal 13 8 4 1 28 15
5 Spurs 13 6 6 1 24 9
6 Man Utd 13 5 5 3 20 3
7 Everton 13 5 4 4 19 1
8 Watford 13 5 3 5 18 -4
9 WBA 13 4 5 4 17 1
10 Southampton 13 4 5 4 17 1
11 Stoke 13 4 4 5 16 -5
12 AFC Bournemouth 13 4 3 6 15 -4
13 Burnley 13 4 2 7 14 -9
14 Leicester City 13 3 4 6 13 -6
15 Middlesbrough 13 2 6 5 12 -3
16 West Ham 13 3 3 7 12 -10
17 Crystal Palace 13 3 2 8 11 -5
18 Hull City 13 3 2 8 11 -17
19 Swansea 13 2 3 8 9 -10
20 Sunderland 13 2 2 9 8 -11
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Write for Vital Football

Recent Liverpool Results (view all)

Liverpool Fixtures (view all)

Dec 4 2016 1:30PM : AFC Bournemouth (a)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 11 2016 4:30PM : West Ham United (H)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 14 2016 7:45PM : Middlesbrough (a)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 19 2016 8:00PM : Everton (a)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 27 2016 5:15PM : Stoke City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 31 2016 5:30PM : Manchester City (H)
Barclays Premier League
The Vital Football Members League