Gerrard impressed by Sterling

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has hailed the sensational

impact of Raheem Sterling, whom he believes can go “all the way to

the top”.

The 17-year-old became the Reds’ second-youngest scorer in the

Premier League after Michael Owen with the only goal – his first

senior one for the club – in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over

Reading.

Gerrard knows a thing or too about breaking into Liverpool’s

first team as a precocious teenager, having done so himself aged 18

in 1998.

“I think he has been a great surprise to everyone; not that he

is doing so well at this level but I don’t think anyone expected

him to break through so early,” the 32-year-old said.

“I think we all knew he was going to be good enough to play for

the first team but when they are young and small and that size

sometimes you need to take a little bit extra care.

“They get used towards the end of the season to give them a

taste but the manager has come in, seen what he has done in

pre-season and said he is ready now.

“He hasn’t let anyone down and he’s been sensational so far.

“First and foremost he has the trust of the manager. He is the

one who picks the team and week in, week out he is getting a

start.

“That is what you need when you break through, you need the

manager to believe in you because sometimes it is hard to play well

every game.

“When you don’t play well the manager keeps playing you and he’s

telling you that you are ready for this level, you’re going to be

around for a long time so get out and do your stuff and that is

what he did against Reading.

“If he can add assists and goals to his game the more he grows

he can go all the way to the top.”

Sterling, who joined Liverpool as a 15-year-old from QPR, is

still so young the club are shielding him from media interviews, at

least until his 18th birthday in December.

So the youngster expressed his thoughts about his first senior

Liverpool goal on Twitter, saying: “Great day for me and my family

to score for such a big club. One of the happiest days of my

life.”

Had his team-mates been sharper up front a first home league win

of season would have been put beyond doubt long before the end.

“The frustration was in not killing the game off really,” added

Gerrard. “We haven’t had a win at Anfield for such a long time we

got a bit nervous and edgy, but the only thing we deserved was the

three points.

“We have to build on it, it is as simple as that. This is only a

good result if we can get a result in the derby (at Everton) next

week.”