Rodgers tells Sterling to focus on Liverpool and keep out of trouble

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has advised winger Raheem Sterling to knuckle down, focus on his career and avoid getting into trouble off the pitch, the Daily Mirror has reported.

Sterling has recently been cleared of assaulting his former girlfriend – an allegation he always denied – but faces further legal problems after twice failing to turn up to court regarding minor traffic offences. And Rodgers has told the 18-year-old Sterling that to succeed as a footballer, he must have a steady life away from the game.

Raheem needs to have a clear mind in everything in his life – he needs to stabilise his life,” Rodgers said. “We mustn’t forget he is 18, but he has to understand the remarkable opportunity he has at one of the biggest clubs in the world and focus everything in on his career.

Once he does that and he is clear in his mind,” Rodgers continued, “He has no distraction and we can get to the level of performance of the first four or five months of last season.

Rodgers gave Sterling an opportunity in the Liverpool first team this time last season, when Sterling was still only 17, and the player’s form was such that he won a senior England cap shortly after making his Reds debut. But Sterling’s form dipped and he has mostly been used as a substitute by Rodgers this season, while slipping down the international pecking order.

The newspaper claims there were suggestions Sterling felt he had already succeeded by breaking into the Liverpool first team and rested on his laurels, becoming too entwined with the celebrity culture around football, but Rodgers has faith Sterling can recapture his promise of a year ago.

He is a good boy and had lots going on last year when he was put in the spotlight and he did well, but now it’s about him focusing on his football,” the manager said.

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