Throughout this week, Marco Lopes uses the success of Liverpool’s 2013/14 campaign to dispel seven different myths and claims about the club, players, manager and owners.
3. Sterling needs to be loaned out / isn’t good enough / isn’t ready
While the footballing charms of Suarez, Coutinho and Sturridge were easily identified and predicted from the starting blocks, the troubled youngster Raheem Sterling had a different journey. Makeshift cameo appearances early in the season allowed the opinionated amongst us (me included) to write the pages of Sterling’s season prematurely. The armchair anecdotes were varied. His head’s wrong. He needs a loan. Ibe is better. The kid has no future at Liverpool.
How wrong we were. (Not all of us, but enough that you’d notice.)
By the time Suarez had conducted his foursome of a football orchestra in a 5-1 win over Norwich, Sterling suddenly seemed a new signing. That fixture was the marker in a run of games where the youngster’s talent culminated in a half season long explosion of masterclass football. Just 19 years old and he can hold off Nemanja Matic, and Yaya Toure.
Just 19 years old and playing with maturity beyond his years. 19 years old and he’s scoring with composure (Manchester City, 3-2). 19 years old and pressing opponents into their own halves, rushing their defenders into hasty decisions, risky passes and inevitable turnovers. 19 years old and showing versatility to play at right back, right wing and behind the front pair.
Just 19. So much more to come.
And to think, we said he needed a loan. Now he’s heading to the World Cup as one of England’s key men.