Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling needs time and has a long way to go.

The 18-year-old burst on to the scene last season for Liverpool, scoring two Premier League goals.

His impressive form even led to an England call-up, but Sterling has been playing for the under-21s rather than the senior side ever since.

And Rodgers is cautious about rushing the development of the winger and also other talented young players at the club, such as 17-year-old Jordan Ibe.

"We don't want to rush these young players' development, even though we want young players to come through and we want to put them in the first team," the Reds boss commented. "We've done that over the course of the last year or so.

"They still have a long way to go in their professional careers and at this stage we're just looking to manage that and make sure we nurture that for the future.

"It is also important to understand that it comes at different stages for some players.

"They understand that if you are focused and playing well, then you will play.

"But in the modern game it can be difficult for young players to break through.

"Over the last year or so they have seen that they are going to get an opportunity and if they can devote their life, be professional and take the opportunities when they come then they are going to have an excellent chance.

"You just have to give them the time and understanding. There are not going to be too many 17 or 18-year-olds ready for the first team, but we want them to be at 20 or 21."

Liverpool are set to take on Fulham this weekend as they look to keep in touch at the top of the Premier League.

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