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Liverpool FC: Rating Raheem Sterling vs. Manchester City

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentNovember 10, 2016

Liverpool FC: Rating Raheem Sterling vs. Manchester City

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    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers handed teen prodigy Raheem Sterling his first Premier League start against champions Manchester City.

    If not for individual errors, Liverpool would have won the game, instead it was a 2-2 draw.

    This article is published for Liverpool supporters who didn't watch the game and were wondering how Sterling played.

Brendan Rodgers' Decision to Start Raheem Sterling

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    With Oussama Assaidi not included in Brendan Rodgers' squad, the 39-year-old manager was left to choose between Raheem Sterling and Stewart Downing.

    Was it a bold decision for Rodgers to choose Sterling? If you watched the 17-year-old's game against Hearts and factored in Downing's 37-game stretch without a Premier League goal—no.

    In the Eredivisie and the Bundesliga, age is just a number because if you're good enough, you'll start. What happens is veterans who don't perform are replaced by the most promising youngsters in the squad. 

    Liverpool supporters know what they're going to get from Downing—nothing. It's time to exploit Sterling's vast potential for greatness.

Raheem Sterling: Tactical Summary

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    From a tactical perspective [1], Brendan Rodgers' decision to utilise Raheem Sterling as a dual wide threat against the slow and over-the-hill Kolo Touré was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

    Sterling's pace enabled him to drag Kolo out of position, but the teenager could also cut in and deliver dangerous crosses as an inside-out threat. This was evident when he almost provided an assist with a pin-point cross to Fabio Borini.

    Kolo's only hope was to manhandle the diminutive Sterling and there was one occasion when referee Andre Marriner inexplicably whistled Sterling for the foul, even though the Ivorian was all over the Englishman.

    Perhaps the most surprising facet of Sterling's game was his willingness to harass the wing-back James Milner. This meant Milner had little influence on the game, yet Sterling was always a threat against Kolo.

    When Andy Carroll was subbed on for Borini, Rodgers moved Sterling to the right and Suárez to the left.

    [1] When Lucas hobbled off after five minutes, Jonjo Shelvey came on to play a slightly more advanced role, with Joe Allen playing Lucas' role. The average positioning of Rodgers' players indicated that the formation was a 4-1-2-3.

     

Statistically Analysing Raheem Sterling

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    Raheem Sterling won back possession more times than Martin Kelly, which is a worrying stat for the 22-year-old defender, who was at fault for Yaya Touré's goal.

    If you're wondering why WhoScored didn't record a single dribble for Sterling, it might be due to their interpretation of what a dribble is.

     

    vs. Manchester City Sterling
    Shots Created 2
    Pass % 80
    Passes 30
    Crosses 1/4
    Tackles 2
    Interceptions 1

Rating Raheem Sterling's Performance vs. Manchester City

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    Rating: 7/10

    Raheem Sterling's work rate was Carlos Tévez-esque—the Argentine exchanged shirts with Sterling after the final whistle.

    Yes, Sterling ran past Kolo Touré at will, but the fact that the 17-year-old was willing to work hard without possession indicates that he has the right mentality to succeed.

    Being dispossessed five times wasn't good but he's just a kid and he lost the ball trying to make something happen—unlike Stewart Downing.

    What a promising debut from Sterling.

     

    Please read Best Bundesliga Summer Signings.

     

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    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com

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