Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers not surprised by Raheem Sterling dip
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling's lull should come as no surprise after a demanding first season
Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling’s dip in form is understandable after the Liverpool youngster’s demanding debut season in the Premier League.
The England international, who turned 18 in December, was a mainstay in Rodgers’s side in the first half of the season, racking up 16 consecutive league appearances.
The teenager’s form, which included a first Liverpool goal in a 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic, led to the Kingston-born winger making his Three Lions debut against Sweden in November before earning a new long-term Reds deal.
However, Sterling’s last start for Liverpool came in a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in mid-January, and Rodgers believes it is important the Merseyside outfit nurture the former Queens Park Rangers youth star in the early stages of his career.
“This is a kid we’re talking about so we have to take a wee step back,” said Rodgers.
“What he’s done since he stepped onto the pitch against Bayer Leverkusen in a friendly to Manchester City [for his league debut] as a 17-year-old, 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.”