• Premier League

Rodgers fires warning to Sterling

ESPN staff
September 27, 2013
Raheem Sterling has struggled to build on his bright start © Getty Images

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has been told to "stabilise his life" by manager Brendan Rodgers after facing three court cases in a year.

The 18-year-old has struggled to build on the rapid progression he made in 2012, when he broke into the first team at Anfield and made his full England debut.

Sterling's only start for Liverpool this season came in the Capital One Cup victory over League One side Notts County in August - with his other five appearances all coming as a substitute.

He came on from the bench as Liverpool were beaten 1-0 at home by Southampton in the Premier League last Saturday, a day after he was cleared of assaulting his former girlfriend after a night out in Manchester.

In May, a charge of common assault on a woman in the Toxteth area of Liverpool was dropped when the prosecution offered no evidence. Sterling had denied the allegation.

Rodgers told the Daily Telegraph: "He needs to have a clear mind in everything in his life. We mustn't forget he is 18.

"He needs to stabilise his life, 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, he has no distraction and we can get to the level of performance of the first four or five months of last year.

"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."

Sterling has been involved in a third court case this week, having been charged with failing to tell the authorities that he had sold his car - an offence which carries a fine if proved.

The winger did not appear at Wirral Magistrates Court in Birkenhead for that hearing, with the case adjourned until October 21.

Rodgers insisted he was happy to field Sterling against Southampton despite the winger's court issues in the build-up to the match.

The manager said: "I'd spoken to him before and been with him all the way through it. If I felt it was not the correct thing, I would not have had him involved. He was fine."

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