Sterling feeling Premier League demands, says Liverpool boss Rodgers

Raheem Sterling will be protected by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as the winger begins to show signs of struggling with the physical demands of the Premier League, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Sterling burst onto the scene earlier in the season, forcing his way into the Reds line-up and remaining there for much of the campaign – only Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez have appeared for the Reds more times than the 18-year-old.

But the last few games have seen Sterling sitting on the substitutes’ bench, making sporadic appearances often late on in matches. Rodgers however revealed that Sterling has not been dropped so much because of a problem with his performances, but to prevent him from burning out.

This is a kid we’re talking about, so we have to take a wee step back,” Rodgers said. “This league is so mentally and physically draining, it hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy.

The zip has gone and that’s down to fatigue. But was that to be expected? Yes it was. I was talking to him the other day about this, and if he didn’t kick another ball this season he’s had a good one. So we have to nurture him and protect him – it’s just a very demanding league.

Not only has Sterling become a regular at club level this season, but he has also broken into the international set-up. At the start of the campaign Sterling had yet to appear for Stuart Pearce’s England U-21 side, but eventually made his bow not just for the youth side but also the senior international team, managed by former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson.

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