|Date of Birth||
8 December 1994
|Place of Birth||
Raheem Shaquille Sterling (born 8 December 1994) is a Jamaican born English international footballer who played as a forward for Liverpool from 2011 to 2015. A prodigous talent signed for an initial £600,000 from the QPR Academy when still only 15 years old, Sterling made great strides in the Liverpool youth set up before Kenny Dalglish handed him his debut in the 2011-12 season, as the second-youngest debutant in Liverpool's history. Sterling went on to be given a prominent role in the team by Brendan Rodgers in the 2012-13 season and, despite hitting a run of poor form that led some to question whether he would make it as an elite footballer, he kicked on in the latter half of the 2013-14 season with a series of outstanding performances that helped Liverpool achieve a second-placed finish in the Premier League.
Raheem Sterling, a product of the Queens Park Rangers academy, was brought to Liverpool in February 2010 for an initial fee of £600,000 (potentially rising to £5,000,000). The youngster gained attention when he scored five goals in a 9-0 win over Southend in the FA Youth Cup on 14 February 2011. He received his first call up to the senior team for the away-leg of the Europa League match against Sparta Prague on 24 February 2011, aged just 16 years and 79 days, however he failed to make the matchday squad. Still a schoolboy, he was only able to make the journey because of a half-term school holiday.
After spending most of the 2011-12 season starring for the Reserves, Sterling was given his debut for the first team on 24 March 2012 in a home League game against Wigan. He had been drafted into the matchday squad due to a spate of injuries to the likes of Craig Bellamy and Charlie Adam. He was brought on for Dirk Kuyt with just under 10 minutes remaining whilst Liverpool were disappointingly trailing 2-1. Whilst Sterling failed to help Liverpool rescue the game, he did put in a very encouraging performance, displaying both his pace and dribbling skills. Sterling became the second youngest debutant in Liverpool's history, behind Jack Robinson, at 17 years 107 days. Sterling was kept with the first team squad for much of the latter stages of the season, and made his second appearance on 1 May 2012 under similar circumstances to his first. He was brought on with just over 10 minutes remaining in a home League game against Fulham with Liverpool trailing 1-0. Again the 17 year old looked lively but could not help prevent the defeat.
The youngster spoke of his hopes to feature more regularly for the senior side in the 2012-13 season under new manager Brendan Rodgers. On 5 July 2012, he was one of only a small batch of players to take part in the first training session at Melwood since the end of the 2011-12 season - this also being manager Brendan Rodgers' first training session as Liverpool manager.
Sterling appeared frequently in Liverpool's pre season games in the summer of 2012, and netted his first senior strike in his first home start for the club on 12 August 2012 in the friendly against Bayer Leverkusen. In just the third minute of the match, Sterling skipped past two Leverkusen defenders on the left wing and fired a curled shot into the right hand side of the net.
Sterling made his first competitive start for Liverpool on 23 August 2012 away to Hearts in the Europa League. Sterling produced a man-of-the-match performance as his side claimed a 1-0 win. He followed this up three days later with his first League start in a 2-2 draw against Manchester City at Anfield. After the match, Brendan Rodgers described his performance against the defending champions as "phenomenal." Sterling's impressive start to the season saw him voted second in the Standard Chartered Player of the Month award for August 2012 by the Liverpool fans, losing out on the award to Joe Allen.
On 20 October 2012, Sterling scored his first competitive goal for Liverpool, netting the winner in a 1-0 victory over Reading. In the 29th minute of the match, Sterling was put through on goal by Luis Suarez and he cooly slotted past Reading 'keeper Alex McCarthy into the far corner of the net. The goal made Sterling Liverpool's second-youngest ever goalscorer, behind Michael Owen.
After fully establishing himself as one of the Reds' key players in the 2012-13 season, speculation began to mount regarding Sterling's contract situation with the club. Rumours circulated that Sterling was demanding a wage Liverpool were unwilling to match for a contract extension, and that clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were all monitoring the situation, prepared to come in with offers for the player if Sterling chose to reject the opportunity to extend his Anfield stay. Sterling himself and manager Brendan Rodgers rejected the rumours and maintained a contract would be signed once Sterling turned 18 on 8 December 2012- and hence became old enough to legally sign a long-term professional contract. On 21 December 2012, Liverpool finally confirmed Sterling had extended his contract, reportedly of five years worth an initial £30,000 per week with incremental increases as Sterling aged. Upon signing, Sterling expressed his delight, stating "It's every 18-year-old's dream. I'm just really grateful to be at such a big club like this."
On 2 January 2013, Sterling netted Liverpool's first goal of the calendar year, opening the scoring in the 3-0 home win over Sunderland with a sublime chip over keeper Simon Mignolet. This was Sterlings second goal of the season. On 27 January 2013, Sterling played in Liverpool FA Cup 4th round tie away to League One side Oldham, becoming Liverpool's youngest ever FA Cup player- aged 18 years and 50 days. Unfortunately the occasion would not be one to remember for Sterling as the Reds suffered a shock 3-2 defeat.
On 27 August 2013, Sterling scored his first goal of the 2013-14 season, dribbling past the defenders and unleashing a strike into the bottom right corner to open the scoring just 4 minutes into a 4-2 win over Notts County. After a series of substitute appearances, Sterling was reinstated to the starting line-up in December 2013 following an injury to Daniel Sturridge. On 4 December 2013, he netted his first League goal of the season, firing the fifth in Liverpool's 5-1 victory over Norwich. Just under two weeks later, Sterling scored once again, slotting the ball past Hugo Lloris after being put through by Luis Suarez to wrap up a 5-0 win at Spurs. He continued his impressive goalscoring form, slotting in Liverpool's second in a 3-1 win at home to Cardiff on 21 December 2013. In Liverpool's next game- a Boxing Day clash away at Manchester City, Sterling could have added a further goal to his name but for an incorrect offside call. He also missed a point-blank strike however he did round goalkeeper Joe Hart to allow Philippe Coutinho to score in the Reds' 2-1 defeat.
On 12 January 2014, Sterling won Liverpool a penalty in their away tie at Stoke. With the score level at 2-2, Sterling went down under the challenge of Marc Wilson. Steven Gerrard dispatched the penalty, and the Reds went on to win 5-3. Some criticised Sterling for allegedly going down too easily to win the penalty. Sterling continued to perform well, and was praised for his role in Liverpool's 4-0 win over Everton and 1-1 draw with West Brom on 28 January and 2 February 2014 respectively. He produced a man of the match display on 8 February 2014 as Liverpool beat League leaders Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield. Sterling contributed two goals to the match, slotting in at close range from a Luis Suarez cross before scoring at the second attempt after being put through on goal by Kolo Toure. Sterling next struck on 1 March 2014 in his 50th League match for the Reds, making the score 2-0 in a 3-0 win at Southampton, hitting the ball past the keeper after a layoff from Suarez.
On 13 April 2014, Sterling netted the opening goal in Liverpool's 3-2 home win over Man City. Billed as a potential title decider, in the 6th minute Sterling collected a pass from Suarez in the box and turned both Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart before slotting into the net. Sterling continued his fine form with a man of the match display in Liverpool's next game, away to Norwich on 20 April 2014. In the 4th minute, Sterling picked up the ball 35 yards from goal, cut inside Bradley Johnson then lashed home a right-footed shot into the top corner of the net. In the 11th minute, he provided the assist for Suarez to put the Reds 2-0 up, then netted Liverpool's third after racing onto Bradley Johnson's loose ball, skipped past one challenge and drilled a low shot towards goal which took a deflection off Johnson to loop over 'keeper John Ruddy. Liverpool won the match 3-2, and afterwards, Brendan Rodgers declared Sterling Europe's leading young player on current form. On 6 May 2014, Sterling was presented with Liverpool's Young Player of the Season award at Liverpool's prize-giving ceremony. On 8 May 2014, he was awarded the Standard Chartered Player of the Month for April 2014. Sterling and his Liverpool team mates eventually closed out the season with a second place finish, narrowly missing out on first place to Manchester City.
On 17 August 2014, in Liverpool's opening game of the 2014-15 season, Sterling put Liverpool 1-0 up at home to Southampton- latching onto a Jordan Henderson through ball and slotting into the bottom corner of the net. Ater Southampton equalised, Sterling went on to provide the assist for Daniel Sturridge to score the winner, cushioning a header into Sturridge's path for a close-range tap-in. On 31 August 2014- Liverpool's third match of the season, away to Spurs- Sterling opened the scoring with a close range finish after Jordan Henderson played a ball across the box. The Reds went on to win 3-0. Sterling's good form brought him the Standard Chartered Player of the Month award for August 2014.
Sterling scored again on 20 September 2014, striking a rasping drive when collecting the rebound of Mario Balotelli's blocked shot in an away tie with West Ham. Although Sterling halved Liverpool's deficit to 2-1, the Hammers eventually prevailed 3-1. In Liverpool's next match on 23 September 2014, Sterling played all 120 minutes of the League Cup clash with Middlesbrough at Anfield. Although he was largely deemed to be one of Liverpool's standout players in the encounter, a misplaced backpass in the dying moments of the match led to Boro winning a penalty when the Reds were 2-1 to the good. After netting to equalise, the match went to a penalty shootout. Although Liverpool were to prevail 14-13, Sterling missed his spot kick.
In October, Sterling travelled to Estonia with England for a Euro 2016 qualification match. After failing to make England's starting XI, manager Roy Hodgson claimed this was due to the fact that Sterling had informed him he was "tired." Huge media interest followed with many members of the public criticising Sterling. Others defended Sterling's honesty, and Brendan Rodgers jumped to the starlet's defence. On 19 October 2014- his first game since the media furore- Sterling faced his former club QPR at Loftus Road. He produced an acclaimed display as Liverpool won 3-2, being involved in all three goals, including crossing the ball for Steven Caulker to score an own goal with virtually the last kick of the game to hand Liverpool the victory.
Sterling played in his 100th game for Liverpool on 14 December 2014, in the Reds' away 3-0 defeat to Manchester United. Sterling had been deployed as a lone striker by Brendan Rodgers in the match, and was denied a goal on a number of occasions by United's David De Gea. In the next game however, still playing the central striker role, Sterling scored twice as Liverpool beat Bournemouth 3-1 in the League Cup semi final on 17 December 2014. His first was a header after a Lazar Markovic cross had been sent back across goal by Jordan Henderson; his second came after he collected a through ball from Adam Lallana, evaded Bournemouth defender Tommy Elphick and then slotted the ball low into the far corner past Artur Boruc.
Sterling scored again on 26 December 2014 in Liverpool's away tie against Burnley, after being put through on goal by Philippe Coutinho and then rounding the keeper to score. The goal sealed a 1-0 win for the Reds.
In the new year, Sterling was granted a short break given the amount of game time he had seen in the season to date. He chose to spend that time in his native Jamaica. He returned to action in the 2-0 win away to Aston Villa on 17 January 2015. On 20 January 2015, Sterling scored an impressive solo goal in Liverpool's semi final first leg tie at home to Chelsea, picking up the ball part way through the Chelsea half before dribbling his way into the box and slotting past keeper Thibaut Courtois. The match finished 1-1 with Liverpool losing the return leg.
Sterling's next goal came on 31 January 2015, as he opened the scoring in Liverpool's 2-0 home win over West Ham. Philippe Coutinho flicked the ball into the box where Sterling broke free of Hammers defender James Collins to slot the ball under keeper Adrian. Sterling scored again in Liverpool's next game- an away tie against Bolton in the FA Cup on 3 February 2015. With Liverpool 1-0 down, Sterling received a lofted ball from Emre Can in the box and stroked the ball under the goalkeeper. The Reds went on to win 2-1.
Sterling next scored on 22 February 2015, netting the second goal in Liverpool's 2-0 win away to Southampton. After the Saints defence failed to deal with an Alberto Moreno cross, Sterling was on hand to find the back of the net.
During the international break, reports began to emerge of Sterling rejecting contract offers from the club. Papers talked of him being unhappy with offers of around £100,000 a week, but Sterling himself denied this in an unauthorised interview with the BBC, stating "It's never been about money. I talk about winning trophies throughout my career. That's all I talk about." He added: "I don't talk about how many cars I'm going to drive, how many houses I've got. I just purely want to be the best I can be." During this interview he also spoke about how it was "quite flattered" with interest from Arsenal.
On 13 April 2015, Sterling sent Liverpool on the way to a 2-0 win over Newcastle, cutting inside after a long ball from Jordan Henderson and placing it past the keeper. During the game he missed two other good chances, including a one on one from six yards, which he put wide.
On 19 May 2015, Sterling was named the Liverpool F.C. Young Player of the Year, but received abuse from the supporters while claiming his reward. Two days later, his agent, Aidy Ward told the media “I don't care about the PR of the club and the club situation... He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for £700, £800, £900 thousand a week." Sterling was named on the bench in the Reds final game of the season, and received abuse from the fans while warming up.
Reports continued into the summer about the club being in talks with Manchester City over his transfer, with bids of both £30 and 40,000,000 being reportedly rejected. On 8 July 2015, it was reported that Sterling had refused to travel to Asia for the club's pre-season tour. The Englishman also took two days away from training with illness.
On 14 July 2015, it was confirmed that Sterling had completed his move to Man City, for a fee of up to £49,000,000. This made him the most expensive English player in history.
Sterling made 129 appearances for the club, scoring 23 goals.
- Liverpool F.C. Young Player of the Season: 2 (2013-14, 2014-15)
- Standard Chartered Player of the Month: 2 (April 2014, August 2014)
- Liverpool F.C. Reserves Player of the Season: 1 (2011-12)
- Liverpool F.C. Reserves Goal of the Season: 1 (2011-12 (vs. Arsenal)
- Golden Boy: 1 (2014)
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- Aged 16, Sterling appeared on the Liverpool F.C. official site in the June 2011 edition of an article series called "One to Watch," which outlined six very gifted young players from Liverpool's academy.