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Sterling: Dr Steve is brilliant for me

Liverpool FC teenager Raheem Sterling has revealed how working with top sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters has helped him light up the Premier League this season.

The 19-year-old has been in outstanding form since Brendan Rodgers recalled him to the side in December.

Sterling has been fearless throughout the Reds’ title challenge and believes his regular sessions at Melwood with ‘mind mechanic’ Peters have paid off.

“The way he works is brilliant,” Sterling said.

“At first I thought it wasn’t for me. On the outside you might think it’s complicated, but all the messages are very straightforward.

“He understands the players and the emotional side of the game. What he says really helps you.

“We use a motto ‘focus on the ball, focus on the team’. I had a meeting with him before the (Manchester) City game.

“I thought it was going to last 20-25 minutes. So I walked in, sat down and he just said: ‘focus on the ball, focus on the team’. ‘Is that it?’ I asked him. But it was really important.”

England boss Roy Hodgson has snapped up Peters’ services for the duration of this summer’s World Cup and Sterling appears certain to join him in Brazil.

After a slow start to the campaign the winger has blossomed – scoring nine league goals in 31 appearances this term.

Sterling believes his ice-cool finish in the thrilling victory over Manchester City showcased his new-found belief.

“Maybe on the outside people had the impression I’ve always been really confident,” he said.

“But after a good start (to last season) I started looking for easy options rather than taking a chance myself, beating a man, taking a shot on myself.

“I’d stopped being natural, all the things that I’d done which got me into the first team in the first place.

“You could look at the City goal as an example. I’m not trying to sound cheeky or over confident but three or four months ago I would have squared rather than take the responsibility all for myself.

“My goal was always to play for Liverpool when I first came here and maybe for a while I thought that goal was achieved because I was one of the lucky ones to do it. But you realise that is not enough. There always has to be the next challenge, to achieve things and win things – making your mark.

“From December time I realised I had to start stamping my personalty, running with the ball, running into the box, making goals, scoring goals. Not playing with that barrier, not to be worried about making mistakes.”

Sterling, who initially broke into the side as a left-winger, has showcased his versatility this season. He has shone on the right flank and Rodgers has also utilised his talents in a central attacking role behind Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

“Since coming here as 15, I was on the left,” Sterling told the June issue of Liverpool FC’s official magazine.

“I only thought I could play left wing. But in the first team my best performances have probably been on the right or behind the strikers.

“I feel like I’m a different player now with more to offer. I realise too that playing in all positions has helped me this season. Being a No 10 is something I’d like to do more of in the future. It suits me.”

Copyright - Liverpool Echo
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