Sterling's stock rose considerably last season, and with extra responsibility on his shoulders following the sale of Luis Suarez in the summer - do the statistics suggest he's coping?
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has seen his stock rise considerably over the past year or so. The 19-year-old was on the fringes of the Liverpool first-team last season but during last season he demonstrated some incredible form that has led to him becoming an integral part of the team today - and challenging for the Premier League title in the process.
This season, he is the Reds' top scorer with three goals but there has been a stuttering start to the season for all the Reds, Sterling included despite impresing during the early stages of the campaign at times.
But with his promise and performances last season comes extra responsibility for a side that wants to compete for domestic and European honours - especially given that 31-goal striker Luis Suarez was sold for £75 million in the summer.
So how does his form compare to last season when he was cementing his place in the Liverpool team, compared to now when he is an established regular, even as a teenager?
Sterling form December 2013-May 2014:
|Team||Pos||% of shots on target||% contests won again opponent||Total scoring attempts per game||Duels won per game||Total attempted assists per game||Apps||Mins|
During that purple patch at form when it seemed that no defence could live with him, either out wide or through the middle, you could argue that Sterling wasn't the most clinicial, by getting less than half of his shots on target. However, the same set of statistics appear to suggest he didn't have that many attempts in the game, and instead was causing problems elsewhere on the pitch - possibly by beating defenders. His assist count per game is pretty similar to his shot ratio - but he won more than half of his battles, and showed his strength by winning on average seven duels per game.
Raheem Sterling's form 2014/15 season:
|Team||Pos||% attempts on target||% contests won against opponent||Total Scoring Attempts per game||Duels won per game||Total Att Assist / apps||Apps||Mins|
A drop in accuracy in terms of shots on targets, he isn't winning as many contests with his opponents - and on average he win fewer duels per game, but only by a very small margin. One could argue that there is a lot more reliance on Sterling to produce for his club given that the amount of shots he has per game have increased significantly - as well as his asissts per game.
There have been a couple of occasions this season where mistakes have crept into his game, such as in the League Cup tie against Middlesbrough - but one wonders if the responsbility is showing a little at this stage of the season.
However, the fact he is the club's leading scorer so far this season with three goals perhaps demonstrates he isn't afraid to take responsibility - but other members of the team around him also need to step up their game.