• Premier League

Sterling: I'll follow Ronaldo and Messi's lead

ESPN staff
August 3, 2014
Raheem Sterling is concerned about attracting rough treatment © Getty Images

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling says he must learn from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if he is to fill the void left by Luis Suarez.

Sterling is keen to swap his usual wide position for the No.10 role at Anfield, but is concerned he will face rough treatment from opposition defenders.

Rodgers dampens Sturridge injury fears

  • Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Daniel Sturridge will be fit for the start of the new Premier League season after the striker left the club's pre-season tour of America early.
  • Sturridge sat out of Liverpool's 2-0 victory against AC Milan in Charlotte and will not be available for the International Champions Cup final against Manchester United on Monday, having flown back to the UK with a slight hamstring injury.
  • "Dan has flown back," Rodgers said. "He wasn't going to be ready for the game on Monday but there is no concern there. He will be ready for the game against Borussia Dortmund next weekend.
  • "It was just best to get him back to the training ground so he can get some treatment there. He has a really, really slight feeling in his hamstring. Nothing major."
  • New signing Adam Lallana and defender Jon Flanagan have also returned to England with injury.

The 19 year old admitted that, while he is not on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi, he can follow their example on how to deal with getting kicked.

"I've started off playing out wide and the manager [Brendan Rodgers] has trusted me a bit more to play in the No.10 role," Sterling told the Sun. "I'd like to see myself more inside. I want to mix my game up, not always try to take the man on but play one or two touches and get in behind defenders.

"In this game, you've just got to look at people like Messi or Ronaldo, they get kicked all the time. If you are getting kicked a lot on the pitch, it must mean that you are a threat to the opposition because they want to stop you as early as possible.

"I'm not saying I'm a Messi or Ronaldo but it's the same that, if you are in an attacking position, defenders will try to kick you. You've got to keep your temper, keep calm and try to score."

Sterling insists he can help Rodgers' side cope with the departure of Suarez, who moved to Barcelona for £75 million earlier this summer.

He believes Rodgers has used the transfer market effectively to fill the gap but, as well as becoming the latest Liverpool face to back Daniel Sturridge to make the step up, says he needs more freedom to improve his game.

"Luis was a big part of last year, so he will be missed massively," Sterling said. "But you've got Daniel Sturridge up front and you've got players the manager brought in to fill that void.

"There is definitely more to come [from me]. I just need a bit more freedom to play my own game. Hopefully I can take my game to the next level and improve my goals-to-game ratio."

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