Few players have ever belied their seemingly diminutive physical stature with the same consistency as Raheem Sterling, who shows such levels of strength that his manager has joked the winger is 'made of steel'.

While searing pace, ability to dribble at speed and interplay with fellow Liverpool forwards are clearly a selection of the No.31's greatest assets, the 19-year-old also possesses power in abundance.

Barely a game passes by in which Sterling does not outmuscle an opponent, combining upper body strength with a low centre of gravity to bamboozle his marker and spring into space behind the backline.

It's an attribute which has not gone unnoticed by Brendan Rodgers and, following another impeccable display during the derby triumph over Everton, the boss took time to share his delight with the England international's progress.

"Young Raheem has barely had a mention but I thought he was absolutely outstanding," the Northern Irishman commented in reference to Tuesday night.

"This kid has only just turned 19 years of age and was up against arguably the best left-back in the country at the moment.

"I'm sure if you were to ask Leighton Baines he would say he had a really, really difficult night. Raheem was so dangerous with his pace.

"He's one of the strongest players I've ever known - that's what people find remarkable. I don't think he's got bones in his body, it's like he's made of steel. He has an incredible physique for a young guy.

"He also has toughness in his brain. Mentally, he's very strong. He is improving his technique and he needs to improve his goal return but that will come.

"He is still so young but his performance level at the minute is at such a high level. He's happy, he's confident and he's a joy to work with."


Since being reinstated to Rodgers' starting line-up for the journey to Hull City on December 1, Sterling has evoked memories of the impressive performances he contributed when initially bursting onto the first-team scene.

His importance can perhaps be reflected by the special plans devised by the boss in the days leading up to Everton's visit to glean the maximum productivity from the young forward.

The 41-year-old explained: "That side of the field against Everton was one of the key areas tactically for us.

"One of the jobs for Raheem and Jon Flanagan was to block up that space. They did that really well and obviously were a great threat going forward too.

"That has been one of the things which has really impressed me about Raheem.  Something I found out early on when I came in here was his ability to take things on board, like when to press.

"My preparation for the derby started leading into the Bournemouth game. My plan was to play Raheem there so I wanted to rest him for Bournemouth because he was going to have a big job against Everton.

"Raheem has got a lot of personality for a youngster. You don't make your debut at 17 for a club like Liverpool if you are shy and withdrawn. Things have happened very quickly for him in his career and I think there's been an adjustment to that.

"He will still have his off days and difficult moments but he's a wonderful kid. I've been really impressed with how quickly he has taken on the tactical element of the game and he has regained a lot of his focus over the last number of months."