Sterling: I’ve had to stamp my personality


    Raheem Sterling believes stamping his own personality on his performances has been the key to his outstanding form this season.

    The 19-year-old has been one of the star performers for Brendan Rodgers side this season, having only become a regular in the starting line up in December.

    A goal in the 5-1 win over Norwich was followed with another in the 5-0 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and Sterling has not looked back since.

    Raheem Sterling

    The England international has hit nine goals in the Premier League this season, and has looked every inch a Liverpool player with some electrifying performances.

    “Maybe on the outside people had the impression I’ve always been really confident,” he explained to the latest edition of the official Liverpool FC Magazine.

    “But after a good start [to last season] I started looking for easy options rather than taking a chance myself, beating a man, taking a shot on myself.

    “I’d stopped being natural, all the things that I’d done which got me into the first team in the first place.

    “You could look at the [Manchester] City goal as an example. I’m not trying to sound cheeky or over confident but three or four months ago I would have squared rather than take the responsibility all for myself.

    “My goal was always to play for Liverpool when I first came here and maybe for a while I thought that goal was achieved because I was one of the lucky ones to do it. But you realise that is not enough. There always has to be the next challenge, to achieve things and win things – making your mark.

    “From December time I realised I had to start stamping my personality, running with the ball, running into the box, making goals, scoring goals. Not playing with that barrier, not to be worried about making mistakes.”

    Sterling has also shown tactical maturity beyond his years this season, recently operating at the point of a midfield diamond for the Reds.

    “Since coming here at 15, I was on the left,” he said. “I only thought I could play left wing. But in the first team my best performances have probably been on the right or behind the strikers.

    “I feel like I’m a different player now with more to offer. I realise too that playing in all positions has helped me this season. Being a No 10 is something I’d like to do more of in the future. It suits me.”

    Sterling was also keen to praise Dr Steve Peters, who has helped the youngster to maintain his  outstanding form.

    “The way he works is brilliant,” the 19-year-old explained. “At first I thought it wasn’t for me. On the outside you might think it’s complicated, but all the messages are very straightforward.

    “He understands the players and the emotional side of the game. What he says really helps you.

    “We use a motto ‘focus on the ball, focus on the team’. I had a meeting with him before the City game.

    “I thought it was going to last 20-25 minutes. So I walked in, sat down and he just said: ‘focus on the ball, focus on the team’. ‘Is that it?’ I asked him. But it was really important.”



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