Raheem Sterling Reportedly Set for Loan as Liverpool Eye Diego Capel Transfer

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2013

OLDHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27:   Raheem Sterling of Liverpool in action during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round match between Oldham Athletic and Liverpool at Boundary Park on January 27, 2013 in Oldham, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In a bid to give the youngster an increase in playing time, Liverpool are considering the option of farming out England international Raheem Sterling but won't do so until they've brought in a replacement.

According to the Mirror, Sporting Lisbon's Diego Capel is the man drawing the Reds' attention as an experienced option.

The Mirror report states:

Once that man is found, England Under-21 and full international Sterling, will be allowed to join a Premier League or Championship club able to give him regular first-team football.

Earlier this week, boss Brendan Rodgers made it clear that the 18-year-old has work to do to become a first-team regular at the Anfield giants.

Eighteen-year-old Sterling has made forays into the Liverpool first-team over the past two seasons, making 34 appearances under Rodgers, 20 of which were part of the starting XI.

However, it was in February of this year that the manager admitted, per The Independent's Tim Rich, that he was suffering from "burn-out," resulting in a drop of his encouraging 2012/13 form.

Should Sterling indeed find himself loaned out, he would hope to follow in the footsteps of fellow Reds attacker Daniel Sturridge, who benefited from a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers during his time with Chelsea.

This season, the teenager has made just one Premier League start for Liverpool, while the man being touted as his replacement, Diego Capel, has made seven Liga Primeira appearances for Sporting and scored the opener in their 3-2 win over Maritimo last weekend.

Capel: A man in demand
Capel: A man in demandEuroFootball/Getty Images

Rodgers has deployed a system based largely on width this season, regularly fielding two wing-backs to help his midfield with the attacking burden.

A long shot though it may be, an increase in playing time could open up the possibility of Sterling making a late surge into Roy Hodgson's 2014 World Cup squad.

Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley are examples of other English youngsters to have made the most of loan spells away from Arsenal and Manchester United, respectively, going on to establish themselves as regular internationals.

Sterling is yet to feature in a competitive match for England, his one cap coming in a friendly against Sweden, but will undoubtedly have his dreams of boarding that plane to Rio.

Just as Wilfried Zaha is finding out at Old Trafford, making a consistent break into the setup of a top Premier League club is no easy feat. Having said that, Sterling's availability is bound to draw the attention of Premier League and Championship clubs alike, all of whom will be hoping to make the most of the speedster's rise to prominence.