HEAD-TO-HEAD - Liverpool's Sterling vs Arsenal's Alexis - Is the Reds' wonderkid a match for best?

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling's start to the season shows that he is a match for even the best already - including Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

Head To Head Inc Html 2England's supposed exciting new era was on display for the first time last night, but it was eerily similar to the disappointing period that came before it.

The Three Lions are supposed to be reducing the apathy that saw only 40,000 people in Wembley for their friendly against Norway at Wembley, but last night's performance will only turn more away.

Supporters of the nation are becoming frustrated by the years of failure that they have experienced and are starting to vote with their feet.

Last night's friendly, as a result, took on great importance. It was supposed to be a game that ignited the country's passion for their football once again, as a side with an average age of 24 took the field to play innovative, fast-paced, attacking football.

Instead, England served up an insipid display, exposing their prior problems. Only a Wayne Rooney penalty was the difference between the two nations, as the Three Lions struggled to produce any kind of productive football.

Amongst the darkness, was a ray of light, though. Raheem Sterling's progression from youth-teamer to Liverpool star has occurred in rapid time, but his incessant development in showing no signs of stopping.

Too often English stars are touted to be the next big things - even in recent times the likes of Jack Rodwell, Adam Johnson and Jack Wilshere have burst onto the scene only to struggle to make the step-up.

However, Sterling looks different. The 19-year-old is now his country's most vibrant talent and the player who Hodgson will look to build his team around.

At club level, too, Sterling is pivotal. Following Luis Suarez's departure from Liverpool over the summer, Brendan Rodgers has placed an importance on the squad compensating for the goals that the Uruguayan's departure leaves them without, and he has made the fleet-footed attacker key in this.

Many youngsters would have crumbled with the responsibility that Sterling has been given, but he is thriving. Made the creative fulcrum of the side and placed at the tip of the Reds' eye-catching diamond formation, he has started the season in blistering form and his ascent to world-star looks inevitable.

Sterling may still only be a teenager, but he is proving himself capable of matching even the most expensive additions that were made across the Premier League this season.

Alexis Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in a move worth over £40 million, creating furore around the Emirates yet he is being outperformed by Sterling so far. 

Sanchez has the image of a street-fighter about him. Shorts rolled up, stocky and blessed with a primitive desire to win possession back, the Chilean draws attention to himself when in possession, but he is being outperformed by the English prospect. 

  GoalsGoal AssistTotal Scoring AttWon ContestUnsuccessful TouchBig Chance CreatedBall RecoveryDispossessedAppearancesMins Played
Raheem Sterling 2 1 8 9 7 1 16 6 3 255
Alexis Sánchez 1 1 7 6 10 1 10 6 3 225

Sterling has scored more goals, completed more dribbles, and been less wasteful in possession, whilst he has already recovered it more successfully for his team.

It is hugely impressive for a player of such tender years, to match a man who has already proven his ability as a world-star.

Sanchez is one of the highest-profile and most talented players in the Premier League, but he is being surpassed by a teenager that has risen up through the youth-ranks in this country. 

It proves that England can produce talent of their own and Sterling's creativity is sure to be the biggest weapon in the nation team's armoury in the years to come. 

Rodgers has given him licence to roam and this unharnessed and unrestrained style is something which has allowed him to flourish. 

England have a habit of drilling tactical discipline into their players, but they must allow Sterling to continue on his current development curve and resist the urge to curb his natural enthusiasm to be direct for it is his greatest strength. 

"Tactically, technically, and what has been beautiful to watch with Raheem has been his maturity," Rodgers said of Sterling at the start of the new season. He promised that this season the England star could reach a new level. 

It appears he may already be there. 

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch