Liverpool boss defends under-fire star

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has leapt to the defence of Raheem Sterling, claiming that the teenage winger did not dive to win a penalty against Stoke.

The England international was felled in controversial circumstances by Marc Wilson early in the second half of the Reds’ win at the Britannia Stadium, with the score at 2-2.

Steven Gerrard netted from the spot as the Merseysiders went on to win 5-3 – a result which pushed them back into the top four – and left the Potters fuming with the officials.

After the game the decision was described as ‘soft’ by pundits and fans alike, but Rodgers leapt to the defence of Sterling by insisting it was not a dive.

“I thought it was soft. I’d call that a “Spanish penalty”, one where the attacker goes into the defender – the defender doesn’t get the ball – but the contact puts him over,” Rodgers told The Metro.

Liverpool had taken a two-goal lead through a Ryan Shawcross own goal and a Luis Suarez effort, but were pegged back by Stoke as Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam netted against their old club.

However Gerrard’s spot kick and another Suarez strike – his 22nd Premier League goal this term – made it 4-2, before Jon Walters and Daniel Struridge completed the scoring.

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