Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is preparing himself for action this season and is ready to 'take a kicking like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo' do week in, week out.
Sterling found his feet in Brendan Rodgers' side last season, bursting into the side and becoming a key player at Anfield. He was a menace for defenders to play against, skipping past anyone in his way with ease.
'It's part of the game'
However now, the youngster believes that if defenders cannot challenge him fairly, they will turn to unfairly fouling him.
Speaking to the Daily Star, Sterling said: "It's part of the game really, the physical side of it.
"You are going to get defenders who want to make sure their presence is there and make sure it’s being felt.
"I think if you are getting kicked on the pitch, it means you are a threat to the opposition, because they want to stop you as early as possible.
'Look at Messi or Ronaldo'
"In this game, you’ve just got to look at Messi or Ronaldo – they get kicked all the time, I think they are doing something right.
"So that’s why people try to stop them as early as possible.
"I'm not saying I’m a Messi or Ronaldo, but it’s the same if you are in an attacking position, defenders will try to kick you.
"It is part of the game – you just have to get on with it and try to do your best. I like taking defenders on.
"I am learning each day and taking it all in my stride. I will definitely be keeping a cool temperament and doing my best for the team."
Luis Suarez replacement
With Luis Suarez leaving for Barcelona, it is likely that Sterling will play a bigger role in the Liverpool side. Rodgers has signed just one striker in Rickie Lambert and is desperate to bring someone else in. However if he cannot, the Northern Irishman could ask Sterling to play a more central role in the Liverpool side.
During pre-season, we have see Sterling play slightly more central in the 1-0 victory over Olympiakos, where he bagged himself the only goal of the game. It was a true goal-poachers finish, as he anticipated Daniel Sturridge's deflected shot and latched onto the open ball and produced a cool finish.
He also netted in Liverpool's 2-2 draw against Manchester City in Liverpool's following game, slotting his effort past Joe Hart, again in a central role.
Sterling has shown he can play through the middle, however his best performances have come on the wing. His electrifying pace to go past defenders and whip crosses into the box is his bread and butter and he will likely want to carry on his role in the Liverpool side.
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