Raheem Sterling believes that the club's participation in the Guinness International Champions Cup tournament in America is vital for the team as they prepare for September's assault on the Champions League.

Sterling made his return to the Liverpool starting XI after being on duty for England in Brazil, and had an instant impact by scoring the game's only goal within five minutes of the kick-off during the Reds' 1-0 victory over Olympiacos.
With the Greek champions put to the sword in Chicago, Liverpool will now face current Premier League champions Manchester City in New York, then seven-time European Cup winners AC Milan in Charlotte.

Sterling, who recently began his pre-season after returning from World Cup duty with England, believes the quality of the opposition the Reds are facing will be essential for the players and the challenges to come next season.

"This is good opposition to play against," Sterling told Liverpoolfc.com.

"They [Olympiacos] play in the Champions League and it's something we'll be playing in next season, so the more we can play teams like that the better really.

"[Manchester City are also] Champions League opposition and the more teams like that we can play, the better for the club and the better to prepare for what we will face next season."

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Sterling also spoke about the training regime Brendan Rodgers has put in place during the tour of North America and the benefits it will give the squad ahead of the big kick-off v Southampton on August 17.

He added: "It's good to get back out there onto the pitch after the summer and it's good to try and get back to full fitness.

"It's [about] trying to put into practice [out on the pitch] what we've been doing in training; obviously not just the running but the football the manager wants us to play - we tried to put it out onto the pitch here today [against Olympiacos] and hopefully we executed that as well."