The last thing Liverpool need to do this January is send out one of their most promising players—Raheem Sterling.
Brendan Rodgers has rightly gone on record to state that the 19-year-old winger won't be going anywhere during the winter window, per Sky Sports:
I don't know where it has come from. I don't think you let a player who's in your team and playing exceptionally well go on loan.
It must have been one of the media guys whose entry checked four or five months later. I think it must have been in the entry for four or five months and he hasn't looked at it and he's just picked it up and put it in the paper.
He (Raheem) was excellent today. His strength and pace was frightening today so no he won't be going anywhere.
Whether Salah comes, goes to another club or stays in Switzerland, there's no reason to let Sterling leave the club, even on a loan.
If this idea had come at any point last year or the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign, it would've sounded like a good idea. Going into both seasons, Sterling wasn't assured a first-team place, so you could see why the club might have wanted to loan him out in order to gain some experience.
The time has passed for making any such move.
Sterling has become a versatile winger in Rodgers' attack and made a lot of progress over the past few months. He scored a goal in each of Liverpool's back-to-back wins over Tottenham and Cardiff and also provided an assist for Iago Aspas in the 2-0 win over Oldham.
That performance against Oldham was enough for Tony Barrett of The Times to take notice:
England should be heartened by the performances of two teenagers on Merseyside this weekend. John Stones & Raheem Sterling both shone.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) January 6, 2014
OptaJoe tracked how well Sterling has been playing recently:
In his 15 Premier League appearances this year, Sterling is averaging 1.4 key passes a game, according to WhoScored.com. That's fifth on the team—0.5 behind Philippe Coutinho and 0.3 ahead of Glen Johnson. What's surprising is that Sterling is attempting on average 20-plus fewer passes a game.
He's been a nice threat down the right, launching in crosses and also cutting in to provide support for Luis Suarez. The youngster does have his occasional foibles, but more often than not, he's delivering the ball into an attacking area and running at goal.
What some seem to forget is that Sterling is still so young. He made his senior debut at 17 years old, so the fact that he's been hovering around the first team for the past two-plus years makes him seem older and more experienced than he really is.
He's going to have those rundowns that end after one too many tricks, and he'll fail to track back at times and let the opposing winger/full-back bomb up the pitch.
That comes with the territory. He'll make his mistakes and learn from them. In addition, toward the end of last year, you could tell he was knackered from the physicality of the Premier League. Now he's become accustomed to it and more prepared to last an entire season.
Sterling is one of Liverpool's most promising playmakers. The club needs to continue playing him and watch him blossom.