Sensational Sterling Could Be Liverpool’s Derby Difference Maker


Liverpool’s ace up their sleeve for the game against bitter rivals Manchester United could very well be twenty-one year old sensation Raheem Sterling.

The England man has had a terrific season so far this term.

Along with Jordan Henderson, Martin Skrtel and Philippe Coutinho, Sterling has been a catalyst in pushing Liverpool up the Premier League table this year.

His pace, dribbling and direct running has already troubled Man Utd during this campaign, although he didn’t have his shooting boots on at Old Trafford last December.

The fact that Sterling can play off a frontman like Daniel Sturridge, out on the wings or upfront on his own also creates headaches for the opposing side. He can pop up in various positions throughout the ninety minutes and that alone can cause confusion.

Raheem will be up against a United defence that has been weak and unpredictable so far under Louis van Gaal’s tenureship. Liverpool’s fierce pressing up-field, high tempo style and constant running at the Manchester Utd defence could scare the ‘Red Devils’ from the off.

Sterling could be deployed wide on the right and told to attack Daley Blind and keep the Dutchman facing his own goal. In that position Sterling would also be told to press Blind at all times, to make sure the left-back doesn’t find himself too much time to find a pass forward.

If not on the right, I’d imagine ‘Reds’ manager Brendan Rodgers may use him as the frontman. Daniel Sturridge is still finding his fitness after a long injury lay-off and is also still waiting to regainĀ his top form. Rodgers may look at the previous meeting with United and sense that Sterling is the type of character that frightens the hell out of Man Utd’s defenders.

Sterling, along with Steven Gerrard, leads the clubs scoring charts with six goals this season (He’ll be hoping to end the term with double figures). He has also created seven assists during this campaign.

Now Liverpool’s supporters will be anxious for their number thirty-one to sign a new deal as he continues to progress as a player. The club were in talks with Sterling’s representatives up until very recently discussing new terms, but Rodgers stated this week that Sterling had requested to postpone talks until the summer.

Some will see that as a ‘come and get me‘ sign from the versatile forward, with Real Madrid and Manchester City lurking around waiting for encouragement to make a bid.

But for me it’s a sensible approach for both the player and the club. Liverpool are entering the final stretch of the season and are on the cusp on gaining a place in the ‘Top Four’ again. If the contract discussions are distracting Raheem, then it’s better to step back and let him concentrate on his football for the next few months. His deal isn’t up until the summer of 2017 after all.

Obviously Liverpool’s upsurge in form has to be credited to the whole squad, not just Sterling.

But you get the feeling tomorrow’s encounter at Anfield could be an extremely nervy affair and the pace of Raheem Sterling could be the key that Liverpool need to unlock Man United’s defence and send Liverpool back into the Premier League’s Top Four!

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