The 17-year-old was on hand to break the deadlock just a minute shy of the half hour mark to become the clubs second youngest goalscorer, behind former striker Michael Owen.
His maiden strike delivered a first Premier League win at home for Brendan Rodgers and left Brian McDermott, who succeeded him at the Madjeski Stadium, cursing his the Royals’ slackness in front of goal.
Despite his tender Sterling’s performance was one of real maturity, linking up with Glen Johnson and Luis Suarez to great effect throughout. The teenager was a constant threat down the left and set up chances for Suarez and Nuri Sahin early on.
It wasn’t long before Sterling was presented with an opportunity of his own as he scampered onto a Suarez header just inside the Reading half before cooly slotting the ball past Alex McCarthy. Liverpool continued to dominate after the break but failed to add to their slender lead as the visitors went in search of an equaliser.
However the sense of unease held by the home support surrounding Brad Jones filling in Pepe Reina between the sticks was quickly soothed as the Australian stopped denied Garath McCleary and Jobi McAnuff McCarthy was also busy at the other end turning away Suarez’s low strike and tipping Sterling’s cross over the bar.
McDermott threw Jason Roberts on late in the game to try and rescue a point with he and Adam Le Fondre causing a few nervy moments in the Liverpool defence but failed to really test Jones. Sterling was withdrawn five minutes from time to a standing ovation as the Reds held on to secure victory and move up to 11th in the table.