17 Feb 2014

'Turned a corner': Arsenal hero hails 'fantastic' £15m LFC star. 10% stat a worry, though?

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling continues to play well for the Reds, and against Arsenal yesterday, the youngster put in a man-of-the-match performance, and was unlucky to end up on the losing side. with Theo Walcott out of the upcoming World Cup, his place in the England squad is up for grabs, and Gunners legend Martin Keown is now convinced that Sterling will make Roy Hodgson's final squad.

Analysing Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Liverpool, Keown - who won three league titles with Arsenal - told the Daily Mail:

"Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling was fantastic.

"He was everywhere, with 66 contacts, and showed defensive responsibility too.

"It feels like he’s turned a corner, and he is on the way to Brazil, without a doubt."

England boss Roy Hodgson seems to share Keown's view, and when asked last week about £15m-rated Sterling's World Cup chances, Hodgson hinted that he has a great chance of making the final squad. He told The Telegraph:

"[Sterling and Adam Johnson] have done very well. Both of their teams have profited enormously from their form. They are two players we know. We have had them with us in the past [and] I can also judge them from their form in the Premier League"

Sterling is in the midst of a great period of form, but his decision-making in the final third still needs a lot of work. Against Arsenal, he got into great positions several times, but ultimately made the wrong pass and/or chose the wrong option.

Plus, he seriously needs to improve his crossing accuracy. Sterling's success rate for crosses is 10% this season (below the squad average of 17%), which - for a winger - is exceedingly poor. Like so many other LFC players, Sterling seems to think that once he's got to the touchline, it's job done, and just aimlessly kicking the ball in the general direction of the six yard box is all that's consequently required.

I don't know about anyone else, but the consistent failure of LFC players to pick out targets in the box is exceedingly frustrating. Getting to the touchline is only 50% of the goal; delivering accurate crosses is equally important, and the overall squad average of just 17% accuracy tells it's own story.

Not that it matters that much this season. Liverpool have scored 66 goals in 26 league games, which is a club record, so the crossing accuracy disparity is not really having a negative reaction. Still, it's a concern, and should be worked on.



  1. No it's not a concern in the slightest,we barely cross the ball into the box so we probably don't do much work on crossing in training. a few poor crosses hardly matters because as you say we've broken a record with our goals this season so we must be doing okay on the attacking front.

  2. Crosses in our team seem to be a problem in general.
    Unless Suarez is literally kicking it off of one of our players shins they dont seem to be effective at all.

  3. I wouldn't say Sterling's crossing concerns me as we have been knocking in the goals but more work on his crossing and finishing wouldn't do any harm and only serve to make him a more productive player.

  4. its not so much a concern right now bcos of our ability to score goals but next year without suarez causing mayhem sterling will have to make it count more or we will suffer heis a wonderful talent but look at aaron lennon he has great pace and dribbling ability but coundnt cross to save his life so sterling needs to improve that aspect of his game

  5. The development of Sterling reminds me of lot of the way steve McManaman came through. Macca took a season+ to find some constancy with his breakthrough game coming in the cup final win in 92. Sterling will only get more confident in front of goal by the end of the season. As for is crossing I don't see that being a main asset to his game.

  6. In a way this is a good story. Despite our poor crossing we have scored a lot of goals. With such a young team there is every chance of further improvement. They should mature and get a better undestanding between them the more they play together

  7. Downing is way better than sterling! Because..... He is a signing of......

  8. There's a few guys who could tune up their crossing along with Sterling - Flanagan, Cissokho, Johnson, Enrique, Henderson, Sturridge (all below average). What's encouraging about Sterling is that he has been showing constant improvement, first in getting the ball to the touchline, but also his decision making is better, it's not 100% but always getting better - not to mention his defensive contribution which is improving too. He doesn't seem to be a deer caught in headlights anymore.

    The worry would be Suarez playing out on the right as a winger, for a couple of reasons, 1) it seems that there's always more chances being created the closer he gets to goal - whether he has the ball or not. 2) He shouldn't take the back seat to anyone - while he does perform out of position, it's not exactly a very good selling point for him to stay.

  9. What sort of a daft comment is that? Fail to prepare,Prepare to fail on ANY unforeseen situation.''A few poor crosses hardly matters'' except if the opposition break away and score goals.We'vee broken a record but have not won trophies,nor have we qualified for a Champions league spot.You seem to reward failure.You get excited about all we've scored but what about all the errors leading to the goals conceded.A more mature posting would be helpful.

  10. I agree sterling's crossing, as well as his shooting need a lot of work however I have no doubt it will come. In 3-5 years time he's gonna be one of the best around IMO

  11. Agree though I see different types of crossing being important. Low fast balls to the near post having taken the ball to the line and cut backs for forwards and midielders coming on to the ball

  12. Agree, but what you describe as a cross is more what I think of as possession and short passing near the net. I'm talking about those hopeful loopers that 9 of 10 times are cleared harmlessly away...and in our case anyways...mean a change of possession after all the hard work of moving the ball
    into the final third.