Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hinted that Raheem Sterling will play a bit part role for the rest of the season.
The teenager burst onto the scene this term, becoming a key member of the Reds’ first-team during the opening half of the Premier League season.
His fine performances even led to the 18-year-old securing his first international cap, with Roy Hodgson selecting him for November’s friendly against Sweden.
However, in recent weeks a dip in form, allied with Liverpool’s moves in the transfer market, has seen the winger play a more peripheral role on match days.
Rodgers believes that his starlet must be managed correctly if he is to on to fulfil his potential at the highest level:
“This is a kid we’re talking about, so we have to take a wee step back,” he is quoted by The Mirror.
“This league is so mentally and physically draining, it hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy.
“The zip has gone and that’s down to fatigue. But was that to be expected? Yes it was.”
Sterling has been impressive on the whole this season, notching two goals and assists in 23 Premier League appearances.
As a result he is likely to be disappointed by his manager’s decision to ease him out of first-team action, but Rodgers says that he has talked to the player about it and explained his reasons:
“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.
“So we have to nurture him and protect him – it’s just a very demanding league.”