Sterling: Chelsea star the scariest I've faced

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Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling knows what it is like to feel the full force of the Premier League's hardest men, with only one player having been fouled more times than the teenager this season.

Sterling has faced a number of bruising encounters during his maiden top-flight campaign, but the Liverpool youngster says no opponent has been more imposing than Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

The Serbia international was named in the PFA Team of the Year last season for his displays on the right-side of the Chelsea defence, and fewer full-backs are more solidly built than the 28-year-old.

Sterling, 18, first encountered Ivanovic when Liverpool met Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in November, in a game that finished 1-1, and was hardly given an inch by the Blues star for entire 90 minutes.

It was certainly a meeting Sterling will be unable to forget in a hurry, and one the new Anfield favourite will have to get used to as he continues his rapid ascent.

"The scariest to play against was Branislav Ivanovic," Sterling told the Daily Mail.

"He wasn't dirty, the guy is just a tank! A big guy, big upper body, big lower body. A real tank. But I've always played against guys who are bigger than me.

Branislav Ivanovic
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