Steven Gerrard believes Liverpool’s new teenage star, Raheem Sterling, has been “sensational” since his promotion to the first XI at Anfield.
Sterling was handed his senior Liverpool debut by previous manager Kenny Dalglish, but new Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has integrated him fully and the young winger is now a regular starter.
Saturday brought a welcome moment for both player and club, as Sterling scored his first senior goal, making him the second youngest goalscorer the Reds have had after Michael Owen, and the strike secured Liverpool’s first three points at home this season.
Gerrard admitted amazement at how quickly Sterling has adjusted from academy football to life in the Premier League and at how impressive his performances have been.
“I think Raheem has been a great surprise to everyone,” the club skipper 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.”
Sterling is diminutive in stature, he stands at only five feet and five inches, and Gerrard claimed that the fact he was coping with the increase in physicality so well was possibly the most surprising thing.
“When they are young and small sometimes they get eased in towards the end of a season to give them a taste,” he added.
“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.”
The Liverpool boss will be welcome of any more players getting into the goals, as striking options at the club have been lacking since the transfer window closed and there was no replacement brought in after Andy Carroll was sent out on loan to West Ham.
Now Fabio Borini has been struck down for three months after breaking a bone in his foot and Luis Suarez left as the only fit senior striker left at Anfield.