Liverpool star Raheem Sterling has risen to stardom over the past two years with a number of mesmerising performances.
So good has he been that the youngster has gone on to earn international recognition and also attract the interests of La Liga giants Real Madrid, as per a previous report in The Mirror.
However, his performance at Anfield yesterday against the Reds’ biggest rivals Manchester United will leave plenty scratching their head at how such a player could produce so little.
The Red Devils won the encounter 2-1, but for manager Brendan Rodgers the biggest disappointment will be how a number of his top players simply failed to perform, not least the red-carded Steven Gerrard.
While the 34-year-old’s encounter lasted as little as 38 seconds before his dismissal, his moment of madness simply eclipsed anything Sterling did of note throughout the 90 minutes.
|Shots||Key Passes||Take-ons||Touches||Accurate Passes||Poss Won Att 3rd||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the exciting winger took 58 touches but failed to produce a spark in the final third, recording no shots or key passes.
Moreover, Sterling didn’t complete any successful take-ons and his mere 69.7% pass completion rate was among the Merseyside outfit’s lowest tally.
If there is one thing he can’t be criticised for it’s his effort and willingness to track back, but even on this occasion he wasn’t at the top of his game – winning possession just once in the final third.
There are a number of possible reasons for his dip in form such as the intensity and importance of the encounter, but the Reds supporters will be hopeful it has nothing to do with his prolonged contract talks.
The 20-year-old has yet to agree on a new deal at Anfield, and with talks delayed until the summer there could be a fear he is perhaps distracted and not quite in the right frame of mind at the moment.