Sterling full of praise for Rodgers - now the Liverpool boss must crack Markovic

Brendan Rogers Press Conference Smiling - 16/02/2014

Raheem Sterling is a success story of Brendan Rodgers nurturing younger players, but he has a different challenge in the form of £20 million man Lazar Markovic.

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has been singing the praises of manager Brendan Rodgers and the influence the Reds' boss has had on his career.

Sterling broke through into the first team in the Northern Irishman's first season at the club and impressed at the start of the 2012/13 campaign before his form tailed off a little - but he was resurgent during the midway point of last season and towards the end of the campaign as the Reds put up an improbable challenge for the Premier League title.

He told the LFC Extra website: "He has taught me to play in numerous different positons and adapt to different positons, being able to work and be effective in each of them.

"The best piece of advice I've been given is to live, eat and sleep football. It was great advice given to me by the manager, and it has helped me going forward."

However, there is one young winger that Rodgers has yet to crack in the form of £20 million summer signing Lazar Markovic from Benfica - but there are different circumstances.

Markovic arrived highly rated during his time in Portugal, and with a big fee to match. Furthermore, if you actually read or listen to what he says - you would say he is an incredibly confident individual.

However, if you look at his performances, one would suggest that there is something of a crisis of confidence with the 20-year-old winger. He has demonstrated his technical ability, pace, but his reluctance to take on a shot show signs of a player who is possibly overawed for now when playing for the Reds.

Premier League:

  PositionTeamTotal Scoring AttemptsAppearancesMins Played
Lazar Markovic FW Liverpool 3 4 190

Champions League:

  PositionTeamTotal Scoring AttAppearancesMins Played
Lazar Markovic FW Liverpool 4 3 173

During his four Premier League appearances for the Reds this season, two of them from the bench, the Serbian has only had three attempts on goal. Given the area of the field he mainly operates him, it's clear that statistic needs to improve when he gets the opportunity. His statistics in the Champions League are only marginally better.

The circumstances are of course, different. Sterling didn't have another country to adapt to, nor did he have a pretty big price-tag hovering his head, two potentially huge factors that will not have held him back. The job that Rodgers may have with Markovic is taking away any talk of the Serbian's price-tag, and give him belief to play without fear.

What worked well with Rodgers man-management last season was he reiterated that younger members of his squad were playing without fear - and that's what Markovic needs to do.

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