5 Reasons Why Raheem Sterling Deserves a Huge New Liverpool Contract
It would actually be Sterling's second new deal with the club in less than two years. His current contract doesn't expire until 2017, but the winger is on limited wages due to his age.
The sensational story of Sterling's 2013/14 campaign has seen a boy turn into a man. Has a Premier League player ever improved and matured as quickly as he has?
Here, we pick five positive reasons why Sterling deserves a new lucrative, long-term Liverpool contract.
His Relationship with Brendan Rodgers
The clip from the reality television series Being: Liverpool in which Brendan Rodgers gives Sterling a ticking off seems a very distant memory, but it was the start of the boss keeping the teenager grounded.
A major part of what Rodgers is doing at Liverpool is creating a togetherness and team spirit. That cohesion was no better illustrated by Sterling's embrace of his boss following his first goal against Norwich on Sunday.
It is clear that Sterling adores Rodgers as his mentor. He recently told BBC Sport:
He’s helped me massively. Not only with my footballing game but if I need someone to talk to off the field he’s there for me. I’ve got to really give credit to him and thank him a lot.
The Pace of His Development
Sterling has gone from a player who looked to be struggling during the first half of this season to arguably Liverpool's best during the second half.
It is a miraculous turnaround for a player some suggested would find a loan spell at another club useful for development.
With every game now, Sterling looks to improve different aspects of his game.
Whether it be his tricky runs down the wing or through the heart of defences, his strength or his finishing ability, Sterling is fine-tuning his attributes every time he plays.
Could Be the Best Young Player in Europe
Is there a more in-form young player in European football right now than Sterling?
Since the turn of the year, Sterling has scored six goals in 16 appearances, boasts a shot accuracy of 80 percent, has created 22 goalscoring chances, has a pass accuracy of 79 percent and wins 66 percent of his take-ons (of which there have been a massive 74), according to Squawka.
Rodgers was quick to label him Europe's best young player after his performance to help Liverpool to a 3-2 victory over Norwich at Carrow Road on Sunday, as per Simon Rice of the Independent:
He is the best young player in European football at the moment.
At 19 years of age you don't see anyone better. His intelligence with the ball, his movement and he's scoring goals. His first goal was a wonderful strike. He's just shifted it, got his shot off; to beat a goalkeeper of John Ruddy's quality shows you the quality of the strike.
His Composure Is Quite Remarkable
For a player of just 19 years old, Sterling's new-found confidence and composure in front of goal is very impressive.
Perhaps it is no better illustrated than in his goal against Manchester City, which set Liverpool off to a 3-2 victory over their Premier League title rivals earlier this month.
Finding himself through on goal in just the sixth minute in front of a highly charged, emotional and expectant Anfield, Sterling saw the imposing Joe Hart bearing down on him.
Keeping his cool, Sterling switched to his left side. He then shimmied back to his right and calmly slotted the ball home, wrongfooting both Vincent Kompany and Hart.
Liverpool Need to Tie Him Down and Never Let Him Go
With the excitement that comes from a player quickly developing into one of the best in Europe comes admirers—and Liverpool will no doubt need to fend off Sterling's growing list of fans.
Fortunately, Sunday's win over Norwich confirmed Liverpool's place in next season's Champions League. Now the Reds are in the enviable position of being able to attract Europe's best players—and that includes the ones already on the Anfield books.
Tying the youngster into a new long-term deal will provide further assurances that he is at Liverpool to stay and continue to be part of the big plans the club has.