The Washington Post

Liverpool’s manager compares 19-year-old to Lionel Messi

(Associated Press)

Why worry about losing Luis Suarez when you have the next Lionel Messi waiting in the wings?

Okay, that’s not exactly what Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers said about Raheem Sterling, his 19-year-old attacker, but he did allude to the Argentinean superstar when asked about Sterling’s role next season.

“His identity is he has to score goals and create goals,” Rodgers told “That’s what the job is. He scored 10 goals last year and this kid is only going to get better.”

“When you look at the finish against Manchester City in New York, how many times have we seen [Lionel] Messi produce a touch like that, taking it through bodies when it’s so tight in the box?”

No pressure, Raheem. For Liverpool to again finish in the top-four this season, Sterling is one of several players who will have to assume a larger role. Suarez was practically LeBron-like last season, accounting for 42.5 percent of his team’s 101 goals. Barcelona paid roughly $125 million for Suarez and Liverpool has used some of that money to sign several players including Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Dejan Lovren, Lazar Marković and Divock Origi.

Sterling is coming off a strong World Cup performance in which he started two matches for England. Sterling was just 17 when he first played for Liverpool.


Thomas Johnson is a reporter.
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