Raheem Sterling is building his own on-pitch identity that has fans getting off their seats every time he collects the ball, insists Brendan Rodgers.

The boss has been hugely impressed by the pre-season form of the 19-year-old, who picked up where he left off last term with a series of typically effervescent displays during the tour of the United States.

"Something we said to Raheem when he first broke into the team and something we've reiterated is that you have to have an identity as a player," Rodgers said.

"His identity is he has to score goals and create goals. That's what the job is. He scored 10 goals last year and this kid is only going to get better.

"When you look at the finish against Manchester City in New York, how many times have we seen [Lionel] Messi produce a touch like that, taking it through bodies when it's so tight in the box?

"Raheem's feet were so soft and his finish was great, as was the one which was disallowed for offside just after.

"The great thing with watching him now is that he gets you off your seat. When he gets the ball you think 'something could happen here'."


Since being appointed at the Anfield helm in June 2012, Rodgers has carefully nurtured the vast potential that made Sterling one of the most talked-about youth players in the game.

Back then, the No.31 was a raw 17-year-old attempting to make an impact on the Liverpool first-team squad. Fast forward a mere two seasons and Sterling had a nation captivated with his no-fear performances for England in the World Cup finals.

Rodgers admits watching Sterling blossom has been a satisfying process and feels opposition teams are now pinpointing him as one of the Reds' biggest threats.

"There was a moment in the game against City when he got the ball on the left hand side," he recalled.

"He had Gael Clichy coming to press him, he had Jesus Navas coming back to press him and a midfield player coming across to try to block the space on the inside.

"For teams to have that fear of him as a young player shows his development. There is still work for him to do, but he knows that and is a really good boy who is developing.

"When you're so young, it's important to understand exactly what your role is. Not just look good, you have to be efficient and effective.

"His development has gone to a new level. He's way above the level from when he first came in both tactically and technically.

"And what has been beautiful to watch with Raheem has been his maturity. He's turning into a beautiful young man.

"He's taking it all in his stride and now he's in a good place with every part of his game. It's just about maintaining that commitment to his work. He's still only 19, but in big games he's performed and he's a wonderful talent."