Raheem Sterling taking it in his stride at Liverpool

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling insists he is coping with the pressure of his rapid first-team progress.

The England international scored his second Premier League goal, with Luis Suarez adding two more, as Sunderland were dispatched 3-0 at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Sterling, who has featured in 20 of the side’s 21 top-flight matches, turned 18 less than a month ago and soon after signed a lucrative five-year contract.

Yet less than 18 months ago he was playing in Liverpool’s youth teams.

“I try not to take in what people are saying and just listen to the manager and the people who have influenced me to play football,” said the teenager.

“Hopefully I can just do well and not let it take up too much of my head, just play my normal game and goals and assists will come.

“I don’t really listen to anyone apart from people at the football club.

“It is a big step for any 17-18-year-old to come and play in the Premier League with players like Steven Gerrard and the expectation is going to be high week in, week out.

“But as a young player you just have to keep playing.”

While Sterling showed composure beyond his years in front of goal the two players who ran the show against the Black Cats were Suarez and Gerrard.

The latter was given far too much time and space by the visitors to be able to work the ball around at his leisure and his 60-yard pass for Suarez’s second was trademark Gerrard.

“They are the players who make the difference - but they need the other players around them,” said Rodgers.

“The captain, over the four games he has played over this period, has been absolutely phenomenal.”