Sterling made his first Liverpool appearance in a 2-1 defeat by Wigan Athletic in March with Kenny Dalglish in charge, but current manager Brendan Rodgers has made the 17-year-old a first-team regular this term.
The England Under-21 international produced a clinical finish to wrap up three points against the Royals, making him second youngest scorer in Liverpool’s history behind Michael Owen.
Gerrard admitted Sterling’s immediate impact has been a welcome surprise, with the Liverpool captain praising Rodgers for giving the former Queens Park Rangers youth star a chance.
“I think Raheem has been a great surprise to everyone,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.
“Not that he’s doing so well at this level – as we always knew he was going to be good enough to play for the first team – but I don’t think anyone expected him to break through so early.
“When they are young and small sometimes they get eased in towards the end of a season to give them a taste.
“But the new manager has come in, seen what he’s done in pre-season and said ‘Yeah, he’s ready now.’
“He’s given him his chance and Raheem’s not let anyone down. He’s been sensational so far.”
Gerrard also felt Liverpool were deserved winners on Saturday, and the England skipper hopes the Reds can follow up the display in the Merseyside derby next weekend against Everton.
“I think because we hadn’t won at Anfield for such a long time we got a bit edgy and a bit nervous towards the end but we certainly deserved the three points,” added Gerrard.
“We controlled the majority of the game and played really well. A second goal would have killed the game off but it never came.
“We have to build on this win now. This is only a good result if we can follow it up with another good result in the derby next weekend.”
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