Brendan Rodgers today highlighted the versatility and intelligence of Raheem Sterling after excelling from a central role in recent weeks.

The 19-year-old was deployed at the point of a midfield diamond during Liverpool's 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend and proved influential once more.

Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo: "Raheem is a clever footballer. For a young boy, tactically he's very good.

"That's what we are trying to do, develop footballers, and it gives me more options. I think he could even play on the side of a diamond.

"When he starts in the centre he offers us penetration with his speed. For our first goal against United he played a really important part as he took the ball out of pressure, around Marouane Fellaini and then switched play to Jordan Henderson.

"For the second goal, he made a great penetrating run in behind from Glen Johnson's pass.

"Raheem is intricate in tight spaces. We encourage players to play under pressure with players tight on them, and he can play with bodies around him.

"He's maturing very well. We've seen we have options with him because of his tactical intelligence."

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Deploying a diamond formation has been one of several tweaks Rodgers has made to his line-ups in recent weeks as Liverpool extended a winning streak in the Barclays Premier League to five matches.

"We have a really small squad so we have to find ways and solutions to win games," explained the manager. "One of the ways is to be really flexible with your tactics.

"The beauty of this team and how we are developing is we do have different ways to win.

"If teams sit deep, we can play through. We have the brightness and imagination around the box to score goals. If teams push on, we have the pace and penetration to get in behind them.

"What we are now doing is we are developing the team tactically.

"A diamond is a difficult formation to play - it's very complex with the movement patterns and the pressure. But we've worked on it and how they have implemented it has been superb.

"We know we can go to 3-5-2. We've had some great games like West Brom at home when we played in that structure and looked good.

"Whatever the game demands, we have the flexibility to operate in the way required."

Despite any tactical alternations, Liverpool's philosophy will never change, insists Rodgers.

"The system can change but the style will always be the same," he said.

"Yes, we've had less possession this season compared to last season but the difference this year is we're leading games much quicker.

"The statistics show you that when you are winning in a game you have between 4 per cent and 8 per cent less of the ball.

 "We are more clinical in our possession now. But if you look at the intensity of our game, nothing has changed.

"We construct the game from behind, we play quickly through the thirds and we want to attack and create goal scoring chances. We want that with tactical discipline.

"We had a move in the 88 minute against United which involved 56 passes. That's why players like Wayne Rooney came off and it had been a real hard day for them because we kept the ball."