The winger has made 35 senior appearances so far this term, but has only started one of the Reds' last six matches.
Rodgers explained: "This is a kid we're talking about so we have to take a wee step back.
"What he's done since he stepped onto the pitch against Leverkusen in a friendly to Manchester City, as a 17-year-old, I dare you to look around Europe and tell me a 17-year-old who has made an impact in one of the big leagues. There aren't many.
"It is so mentally and physically draining this league. It hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy and played football and earned a contract off that.
"We have to nurture that and at times he's got to have that mentality to keep learning. I was talking to him the other day about this, and if he didn't kick another ball this season he's had a good one.
"It's just a very physically demanding league and what you're seeing now is more tiredness of the legs when before he could go up to people and take them on. That zip has gone and that's down to fatigue. Was that to be expected? Yes it was."
Rodgers has carefully overseen Sterling's progression since arriving at the club last summer and admits he will continue to do so to ensure he fulfils his potential.
He added: "He's made such an impact that everyone is looking at him now of course. But the job is to nurture him.
"He's started his career at first-team level way before many get the opportunity.
"He's still got lots of improvement to make in his game. Over the years we will look at his plan and development and act accordingly."