Stoke City v Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers admits Raheem Sterling has responded 'brilliantly' to stick he received from the Reds' manager

Sterling has had a number issues off the field but a long run in the team is reaping its rewards

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling has had a number of ups and downs under Brendan Rodgers but the manager's tough line with the teenager now seems to be paying dividends.

The Reds boss admits he has given the 19-year-old "a bit of stick" in the last 18 months but the youngster has responded well and seems to have rediscovered the form which took the Premier League by storm at the start of last season.

In Rodgers' first pre-season in charge one of the few memorable moments of the 'Being Liverpool' documentary was the manager's swift rebuke of the youngster who appeared to question his authority.

That did not stop the manager giving Sterling a long run in the side which led to his senior England debut, only for injury and a dip in form to see him not feature at all in April and May.

Sterling had a number of off-field issues to deal with in 2013, including being found not guilty of assaulting an ex-girlfriend, and he found first-team chances were limited at the start of the current campaign.

But injury to striker Daniel Sturridge opened the door again and the teenager has started the last nine matches, scoring three times but more importantly showing a resurgence in his overall play.

"He's been outstanding, brilliant, and has played really well in some big games," said Rodgers.

"In other games he was very prominent. I think you've seen what he can give to the team when he's really focused.

"He's in a good moment now. He's happy and really focused on his football and he's consistently producing.

"I've been really pleased for him because he's a good kid. He's taken a bit of stick from me since I've come in here but it's always been in the best interest of him and the club."

After breaking into the England squad last season Sterling has not featured since making his debut in the 4-2 friendly defeat to Sweden in November 2012.

However, injury to Theo Walcott opens up a World Cup place for right-sided attacker and Sterling could fit the bill having continued his development for the Under-21s.

Rodgers has warned the youngster not to think too far ahead, though.

"I'm sure the England people and staff will be looking at that," said Rodgers.

"Raheem's obviously one of the outstanding talents in the under-21 team. (Walcott's injury) certainly opens up a door.

"But all he can do is concentrate on his Liverpool career and everything else follows that.

"He's played nine games now on the spin and been excellent in them, so hopefully he can continue that run of form and do his job, which is to score goals and create goals."

Sterling has been asked to perform different roles since returning to the side, regularly switching flanks and even occasionally filling in at full-back.

Rodgers is impressed with how the youngster has developed.

"I know some people were looking at me when I stuck him at right-back early on a few times but I think you see now, whenever he does play in that position, what he can give you, both going forward and defensively," he added.

"He's probably one of the strongest players I've ever seen. Pound for pound, he's as strong as anyone.

"You marry that strength and his quality and his focus, and then you've got a young player who has just turned 19, who is going to be an outstanding prospect."

Liverpool head to Stoke on Sunday - where captain Steven Gerrard is set become only the seventh Liverpool player to reach 650 appearances - looking to register their first Premier League win at the Britannia after two draws and three defeats.

"It's a difficult place to get a result and Liverpool's record there hasn't been so good," said Rodgers.

"We weren't very good there last year (losing 3-1), it's as simple as that."

PA

Sport
Romelu Lukaku
sportChelsea striker sends second teasing tweet of the day
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns