Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann was full of praise for debutant Raheem Sterling after his late cameo against Wigan Athletic at Anfield yesterday.
The England youth international was introduced late in the second-half, and was unable to prevent the Reds from slipping to a shock 2-1 defeat as goals from Sean Maloney and Gary Caldwell proved the difference. Luis Suarez had equalised for the hosts.
And in a game with few positives, it was Sterling’s display which stood-out for the ex-Germany international, who is hoping the teenager will get more chances within the first team after showing up some of the senior players.
"I think he [Sterling] had a good impact when he came on. He took defenders on, won a couple of free-kicks and had a shot that Skrtel gets on the end of,” Hamann told Liverpool FC TV.
"In 16 minutes, he showed more than some players did in the 90. He had a big impact when he came on, and he certainly deserves another chance, and hopefully we’ll see more of him in the future."
However, manager Kenny Dalglish was eager to play down the significance and expectation being put on young players at Anfield, after Jon Flanagan also started at right back in place of the injured Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly.
The Scot is desperate not to ‘destroy’ the young players on Merseyside, and is trying to play down talk of regular appearances for the top academy prospects at Liverpool.
"You just need to draw your horses back a bit. He wouldn't have been there if we weren't in the position we were in,” said Dalglish post-match.
"It is nice to see the kids get a game but it is also better for us to look after them and manage them. We are not going to throw kids in and destroy them, but it is nice to see them on the pitch.
"Jonjo Shelvey also came on and gave us a bit of a lift."