Sterling has looked half the player he was last season, when he showed the kind of promise that had him regarded as one Europe’s brightest prospects.
As part of the Reds attacking triumvirate last term, the young Englishman registered nine goals and seven assists in the Premier League campaign that came so close to ending in silverware. Despite struggling along with many of his teammates this year, Sterling still has three goals and four assists - and he has been the one highlight of Liverpool’s faltering season.
However, he has been targeted by a section of the Liverpool fans this year, due to his inability to live up to his own expectations, and the three fantastic chances he missed in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester United gave the support further ammunition in the campaign against the 20-year-old.
David De Gea was in imperious form in the United goal, making eight saves - including three each from Sterling and Mario Balotelli - and whilst it could be argued that the youngster should have scored at least one of the three chances - when he broke through one-on-one, before delaying his shot to allow De Gea to balance himself - he was still the most creative player on the pitch, and looked like the only real attacking threat in the Reds ranks.
Former Liverpool forward John Aldridge - whose striking talents would be well appreciated at Anfield in the current moment in time - has backed Sterling to recover his form, claiming that there is no problem with the youngster as he is still creating chances for himself.
“While the finger could certainly pointed at some people defensively, you can’t point it at Raheem Sterling,” the 56-year-old told the Liverpool Echo.
“He wasn’t far off being a hero on Sunday, but the big problem for me would be if Raheem wasn’t creating chances for himself. That would be more of an issue than creating opportunities and failing to take them – this time.
“Raheem Sterling is – still – one of our brightest talents.”
Aldridge is confident that Sterling will learn from the current experience, but he feels as if the youngster is suffering because there is too much pressure on his shoulders - being forced to shoulder the weight of his under performing teammates on a weekly basis.
“He’s only 20-years-old and this is an experience which he won’t be familiar with,” he continued. “He’ll learn to deal with it as his career progresses – but the main issue at the moment is that he is expected to pull us out of the mire week-in week-out.”