Raheem Sterling can be a legend at Liverpool says Brendan Rodgers after Reading goal

Liverpool 1 Reading 0: Reds' second youngest ever goalscorer is currently a 'revelation' but his manager warns the 17-year-old not to get carried away with the adulation

Already an Under-21 international, already selected for a senior England squad, now he has a Premier League goal: the Raheem Sterling whirlwind gathers momentum so fast the challenge for Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, is to keep it under control.

The 29th-minute goal that settled a contest otherwise notable – aside from Reading striker Jason Roberts making his point about the Kick It Out T-shirt campaign – for the number of chances Liverpool failed to take, made Sterling at 17 years 317 days the youngest player to score a competitive senior goal for the Anfield club after Michael Owen, who was 17 years 144 days when he netted on his debut in 1997.

It was a fine goal, one that combined the youngster's speed and energy with his seemingly innate football intelligence, coming inside from his wide position in the way that Rodgers had encouraged him to do.

Luis Suarez fed him a sublime chipped pass and Sterling eagerly outpaced Shaun Cummings, the Reading defender, along the inside right channel before timing the moment to release a firm low shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy into the bottom corner.

It came 10 years almost to the day since another precociously-talented teenager was announcing himself on the other side of Stanley Park with his first goal for Everton. Other than this coincidence of dates, there are no parallels yet that can be drawn between Sterling and Wayne Rooney, and Rodgers is keen for it to stay that way, particularly in the knowledge that, less than two years after his famous first goal against Arsenal, Rooney and Everton had parted company.

Rodgers has been asked more than once whether the Jamaica-born, London-raised Sterling has the temperament to handle a potentially meteoric rise and the question surfaced again inevitably. The answer, in a nutshell, is: so far, so good.

"At this moment, I've no worries about him keeping his feet on the ground," Rodgers said. "I talk to the players a lot about the good and the bad and up to now Raheem has been brilliant.

"He is a good kid with a lovely way about him. His mum does a terrific job with him and the people at the academy have taught him good values and good morals as well.

"Nothing fazes him, he has a good head on his shoulders and he handles everything about his situation really well. He likes people to be direct with him, he listens to his coaches, he listens to the right people. He doesn't waste his time doing stupid things.

"But he has got an awful long way to go. We want to have him here as a legend for many years. We don't want him here at 17 years of age to get carried away with all this adulation and then, at 21, he is washed up and everyone wants him out.

"The biggest thing for me is just maintaining the hunger he has at the moment. He is learning fast and he can be a really, really top player. So far, he has been a revelation."

It is already in his manager's mind that there may have to be a pause, a moment at which Sterling's development benefits from a spell away from the front line. But with much still to prove on Merseyside about his own ability, Rodgers will want that point to come later rather than sooner.

His first home Premier League win as Liverpool manager saw his side need 19 direct attempts and a good few more promising build-ups to score their solitary goal, with the otherwise exceptional Suarez particularly profligate. Leaving out someone who can finish a move is not yet a luxury open to him.

Match facts

Liverpool: JONES 7/10, WISDOM 7, SKRTEL 6, AGGER 7, JOHNSON 7, GERRARD 6, ALLEN 7, SAHIN 6, SUSO 6, SUAREZ 7, STERLING 8

Reading: McCARTHY 7, SHOREY 6, GORKSS 6, MARIAPPA 7, CUMMINGS 6, McANUFF 6, LEIGERTWOOD 6, KARACAN 5, KEBE 6, POGREBNYAK 5, GUTHRIE 5

Goal: Liverpool Sterling 29. Subs: Liverpool Shelvey 6 (Sahin, 63), Henderson (Sterling, 84), Enrique (Suso, 74). Reading McCleary 6 (Karacan, 25), Le Fondre (Pogrebnyak, 74), Roberts (Guthrie, 81). Booked: Liverpool Agger. Reading Mariappa. Man of the match Sterling. Match rating 6/10. Poss: Liverpool 56%. Reading 44%. Attempts on target: Liverpool 13. Reading 5. Referee R East (Wiltshire). Att 44,874

Young guns go for it: Youngest Premier League scorers

1 J Vaughan (Everton) 16y, 267d

2 J Milner (Leeds) 16y, 352d

3 W Rooney (Everton) 16y, 355d

4 D Bent (Ipswich) 17y, 78d

5 F Fabregas (Arsenal) 17y, 111d

6 M Owen (Liverpool) 17y, 144d

7 A Turner (Spurs) 17y, 158d

8 L Hodges (W Ham) 17y, 178d

9 F Macheda (Man U) 17y, 224d

10 R Sterling (Liverpool) 17y, 317d

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before