Brendan Rodgers has praised the progress of Raheem Sterling and called for perspective after the winger chalked up a half-century of Liverpool appearances days before his 19th birthday.

Sterling marked the occasion by steering home the Reds' fifth in their 5-1 rout over Norwich City at Anfield on Wednesday.

The youngster's instinctive strike failed to steal the headlines, owing to Luis Suarez's simply scintillating display.

However, Rodgers took time out to highlight Sterling's contribution - and backed the No.31 to continue to develop over the coming months.

"Raheem is still only a very young player," said Rodgers. "I thought his finish on Wednesday night was excellent. It probably got lost in and amongst Luis' goals and his assist.

"But we've just encouraged the front players to take more of a risk and get into the box. It was a wonderful finish off his left side. We mustn't forget that he's a boy of 18 years of age, who is developing all the time.

"The spell out of the team doesn't do him any harm. He's learning from very good players here and he knows that when he goes into the side, the confidence of the manager and his teammates is there to go and perform.

"Against Norwich, his pressing was very good, as was his strength on the ball. He knows he's got to add the numbers to his game in terms of the goals and the assists. He scored a terrific goal, so I'm delighted for him."

Rodgers also reserved special praise for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who has impressed since his arrival from Sunderland in the summer.

The Belgian was denied a fourth Anfield shut-out in the league when Bradley Johnson headed a late consolation goal for the Canaries on Wednesday night.

However, Rodgers believes Mignolet has proved a clever piece of business and hailed the 'keeper's shot-stopping abilities.

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"I think any top team has to have a really good goalkeeper and Simon has been brilliant," said the manager. "Obviously Pepe Reina here for a number of years has been excellent.

"But we felt the need to bring in another goalkeeper. Pepe has gone out and of course it's a big ask. But we brought Simon in because we felt that he could deal with it.

"When you play for Liverpool, it's really difficult because of the expectancy and when you put the shirt on, whether you're an outfield player or a goalkeeper, there's more pressure to play. And I think he's come in and dealt with that really, really well.

"He's got areas of his game he wants to improve - and that's another reason why we've brought him in. But I think his shot-stopping and his ability to deal with crosses is super. His reaction saves are very good.

"I've been delighted with Simon - he's a real good man as well."

Liverpool have won 11 out of 16 games at Anfield this calendar year, drawing three and losing just twice on home soil in the league.

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The Reds have been in fine form in L4 in recent weeks - backing up their dominance by averaging four goals a game in their last four encounters in front of the Kop.

Rodgers agrees his side seem to flourish in front of home support - and he's targeting a repeat in fortunes when Sam Allardyce's Hammers make the journey to Merseyside.

He explained: "Playing at Anfield, there's more pressure on the home players than on the away team because of the history of the club.

"And what has delighted me over this period of time, as we've progressed and progressed, is that the players have dealt with that so much better.

"We're now very strong at home. Teams will hopefully fear coming to us, but that's a mark of the players and their mentality and aggression in the game. It's important to have that character. It's one of the mantras you need to have to play for Liverpool.

"You can't just be a good player, you have to do that extra bit more and perform consistently and that's something that we're trying to improve all the time."

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While Sterling broke into the team at the start of the 2012-13 season under Rodgers, the final game of the last campaign saw another youngster - the seventh Academy graduate of the year - make his first-team debut.

Jordon Ibe provided an assist for Philippe Coutinho on the day as he sparkled in front of a 45,000-strong Anfield crowd, while the winger went on to impress in pre-season training this year.

Rodgers talked up the youngster's talents; however, he insisted that a loan spell could benefit the former Wycombe Wanderers man at some point in his early career.

"Young Jordon Ibe, what a talent he is," said Rodgers. "He's 17 years of age and he trains up with us in the first-team squad.

"He will need a loan period because he needs to get games, he needs to go and get the environment and get playing. But he's another one who we really see for the future. But he probably will need a loan period."