Brendan Rodgers believes Raheem Sterling can develop into one of the best players in world football, providing he stays focused, reports the Express.
Sterling picked up where he left off for Liverpool in pre-season, producing a string of superb performances during the Reds tour of the USA.
He was outstanding once again as the Reds rounded off pre-season with a fine 4-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, and Rodgers has words of high praise for the teenager.
“He is still learning the game and has improvements to make, but he is an incredible young player,” said Rodgers.
“He can really go on and be what he wants. He is 19 but has a big future ahead of him.
“Something we said to Raheem when he first broke into the team, and something we’ve reiterated since, is that you have to have an identity as a player.
“His identity is he has to score goals and create goals. That’s what the job is.
“He scored 10 goals last year and this kid is only going to get better.
“When you’re so young, it’s important to understand exactly what your role is. Not just look good you have to be efficient and effective.
“His development has gone to a new level. He’s way above the level from when he first came in both tactically and technically.
“What has been beautiful to watch with Raheem has been his maturity and he’s turning into a beautiful young man, with all the responsibility.
“He’s taking it all in his stride and now he’s in a good place with every part of his game.
“It’s just about maintaining that commitment to his work. In big games he’s performed and he’s a wonderful talent.”
Sterling fired two goals for the Reds during their tour of the States, with his late equaliser against Manchester City being described by the boss as something Lionel Messi would have been proud of.
“The finish…how many times have we seen Messi produce a touch like that? Taking it through bodies and when it’s so tight in the box,” said Rodgers.
“The great thing with watching him now is that he gets you off your seat. When he gets the ball you think, ‘Something could happen here’.
“There was a moment in the game against City when he got the ball on the left hand side.
“He had Gael Clichy coming to press him, he had Jesus Navas coming back to press him and a midfield player coming across to try to block the space on the inside.
“So for teams to have that fear of him as a youngster shows his development.
“There is still work for him to do, but he knows that and is a really good boy who is developing really well.”