Former Liverpool star Stan Collymore has questioned whether it’s right for his old club to place pressure on Raheem Sterling and use him as a striker.
Sterling played through the middle during the League Cup win against Bournemouth earlier this week and while he has experienced of playing centrally, Collymore has suggested why it might not be a good idea for Brendan Rodgers to use him in that role.
“In the column against, you wonder if it's right to put all that responsibility on a young player's shoulders,” he wrote in his column for Bleacher Report.
“There's also the consideration of how Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli might feel, should a winger be used in their place as a striker.”
There are two possible reasons Rodgers selected Sterling as a striker against Bournemouth; his pace and giving Lambert a rest.
Balotelli may well have started the game but an injury in the build up to the match saw him ruled out, severely restricting the options Rodgers had available ahead of the game.
Sterling’s pace makes him ideal to hover on the shoulder of any defence, especially one that plays quite high and it also means he’s suited to playing next to a main striker, off of either side, which he also has experience of doing at Liverpool.
“From an England perspective, I'm starting to wonder if Sterling and Theo Walcott are the two converted wide men who might dovetail with Wayne Rooney at the Euros. Now there's a front three with pace to burn.”
Rodgers has enough intelligence and sense to know when to throw Sterling into leading the attack and when to protect him and it would be surprising if he went into the game against Arsenal this weekend as the main striker, despite his ability to take advantage of Per Mertesacker’s lack of pace.