In what has been called Liverpool’s biggest game in the Premier League era, Liverpool needed some players to step up for their fixture against Manchester City, and Raheem Sterling did just that. Not only was the game well anticipated as a decider for which of the sides were more likely to go on to score the Premier League trophy, emotions went up an extra level as this was also the weekend that the Hillsborough tragedy was being honoured by all the fixtures. With the ability to control their own destiny in the hunt for the Premier League trophy on the line, Liverpool grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and came out victorious.
Raheem Sterling himself played a big part in Liverpool’s fast start. He has been in great form this season and has progressed remarkably under Brendan Rodgers. Sterling has made himself an integral part of the Liverpool team with his ability to play in his natural wing position or in his new number 10 role. He has found holes in the Manchester City defence created by the movement of Suarez and Sturridge. He was popping up in good spaces all the time and ended up scoring the opening goal.
Raheem Sterling completed 21 of his 27 passes, and created two chances and one clear cut chance. The Englishman took two shots, one of which hit the back of the net, and he also completed five of his six attempted dribbles. Sterling won seven of his 12 ground duels and made an important clearance off the line.
Sterling started the season playing as an out and out winger, as he had his entire career. Sometime in the middle of the season, Brendan Rodgers decided to try playing Sterling as a number 10. No one expected this but it has worked out like a dream for Sterling and Liverpool. Sterling playing the number 10 helps Liverpool destroy teams on the counter with his electric pace. He plays behind the lethal partnership of Suarez and Sturridge meaning they draw most of the attention. This allows Sterling to make runs in behind without as much attention being paid to him. The diamond gives everyone the ability to swap and move as they please making all the runners tough to track. Sterling’s lethal pace allows him to make devastating runs from the midfield that, with all the attention paid to Suarez and Sturridge, are very difficult to track.
Liverpool needed to get off to a fast start in a game with such an emotionally charged atmosphere, and they did just that. Luis Suarez came deep to pick a ball out of the air. Martin Demichelis followed him out there. Raheem Sterling floated into a big gap between Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta that was made because Demichelis man marked Suarez. Suarez was able to shrug off Demichelis and get his head up. When he got his head up, Suarez saw Raheem Sterling and played a gorgeous ball for him to run onto. After Sterling had taken his first touch, Joe Hart had already rushed out to stand Sterling up and Kompany had made him way to get between Sterling and goal. Sterling then showed sensational composure to shift the ball off his right foot to fool both Hart and Kompany then quickly hit it back onto his right to knock the ball right into the open goal.
This was the biggest Premier League game Liverpool has ever played. Some could have been caught up in that or the tribute for Hillsbrough. Raheem Sterling stayed calm and composed putting in a great performance getting Liverpool off to a good start that eventually led to a massive win in this season and possibly a massive win for in the history of Liverpool Football Club.