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Sterling: I need to prove myself once again at Liverpool

The 18-year-old had a whirlwind season last year, featuring a full England cap and 30 senior appearances for the Reds, but feels that he has work to do after injury.

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling believes that he has to prove himself to manager Brendan Rodgers once again this season following injury and the club's new acquisitions.

Despite his meteoric rise from the academy to the first team, however, Sterling is under no illusions over the size of the task to force his way back into Rodgers's starting lineup.

"There's still a lot of work to be done which I thought I should've done last season only for my injury," the youngster told the Daily Mail. "I'm just looking forward to working hard in training and in games to try and show the manager what I can do to try and cement a place."

The 18-year-old burst onto the Premier League scene last season and made more than 30 senior appearances, gaining one England cap in the process.

"Last season was a good start," he said. "The manager gave me the chance to go out on the pitch and show what I can do, but then my injury started kicking in and my performances weren't the best. It was obviously taking a toll on me so the manager took me out to protect me."

Sterling also says that part of the reason for him not being in the team during the closing run of last season was so that he could be in top shape heading into the start of the new campaign.

"It was also to get me ready for the new season," he said. "I'm not really thinking about [raised expectations]. As a young lad I just have to go out there and play my game. People are going to be expecting things from me now but I'm not going to put pressure on myself.

"I'm just going to go out there and do my best for myself and the team."

Sterling's turn of pace and flamboyant trickery caught the eye last season but the England international knows that he needs to add more to his game.

"It's a work in progress but hopefully on the tour I can show the manager that I can be part of the team," he continued. "The game in the Premier League is obviously fast paced so I'll be looking to use my pace but also out think defenders.

"I've got to mix my game up as well which means not always dribbling and taking a few less touches. Everyone can see I like running with the ball so that could make it easy for defenders to read me. That's why I need to mix it up."

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