Liverpool's Sterling backed over Januzaj for Young POTY

Raheem Sterling Liverpool

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Raheem Sterling has enjoyed a better season than Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj.

In his column in the Daily Mail, Carragher has backed his former teammate Raheem Sterling ahead of Adnan Januzaj to rival Eden Hazard for this season’s Young Player of the Year award.

Sterling has been one of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ star performers this season, making a significant contribution as the Reds have surged to the top of the Premier League.

Carragher has certainly been impressed, and believes Sterling's performances warrant a place in the squad for this summer’s World Cup.

'There was always a buzz around Raheem when I was at Liverpool, but this season he has shown there is substance to the hype. He has been brilliant since getting back into the team, adding goals to his speed on the flanks, and he looks set to go to the World Cup'.

Another man who has impressed Carragher on the flanks this season is Manchester United’s Belgian-born youngster Adnan Januzaj.

Januzaj burst onto the scene with a fine double away at Sunderland early in the season, though Carragher admitted it was in the summer where Januzaj began to attract his attention:

'Manchester United have endured a disappointing campaign but the one bright spot has been the emergence of Januzaj. He’s played 32 games, which is a lot for a 19-year-old, but he has a big future. I liked what I saw of him in pre-season and he has built on that impression'.

Carragher's view that Sterling has had the better season, however, does appear to be backed up by the Opta stats:

 

  TeamPosGoals / appsTotal Att Assist / appsBig Chance Created / appsAccurate Cross / appsWon Contest / appsAccurate Pass / appsBall Recovery / appsDispossessed / appsAppsMins
Raheem Sterling Liverpool MF 0.21 1.39 0.29 0.32 2.46 19.86 4.64 1.79 28 1,781
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 0.17 1.00 0.17 0.83 1.67 16.88 3.04 2.13 24 1,422

As  can be seen, Liverpool's Sterling offers a slightly better goal threat - averaging more goals, assists and chances created per game. Furthermore, the England international appears far more effective in his use of the ball, recording more accuate passes, more successful dribbles and losing the ball less frequently than the Manchester United star.

Januzaj, on the other hand, does come out on top in the number of accurate crosses, which is a key component of a winger's game.

Arguably the most telling statistic, however, is Sterling's ability to recover the ball when losing it - a trait which Brendan Rodgers has clearly instilled into Liverpool's game.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch