26 Jan 2015

Legend warns: £20m Liverpool star has a major 'weakness' to overcome. Big problem?

With Luis Suarez no longer at the club, Raheem Sterling is the new golden boy amongst Liverpool fans, and like Suarez, he is constantly revered and eulogised as if he's the perfect footballer. Sterling is in good form at the moment, but he is very far from the finished article, and according to Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, the youngster has a glaring weakness to his game that needs to be rectified.

In his weekend column for The Independent, Scholes observed:

"I don’t rate him [Sterling] that highly as a striker of the ball.

"I feel that the weakness in his game is his strike. His touch is good. His problem is the hit. Too often his shots are a scuff or a bobble".

Sterling's own comments on his finishing seem to support Scholes' contention here. After scoring against Chelsea in the League Cup last week, he noted:

"I got to the edge of the box and thought I would shoot. It scuffed into the back of the net so it was a lucky finish"

Watching £20m-rated Sterling play over the last two years, it's clear that his shots-per-goal ratio is not the greatest, and that may be partially due to the 'weakness' highlighted by Scholes. Some Premier League stats from this season:

* Total appearances: 21
* Total shots: 52
* Shots on target: 21
* Goals: 4
* Shots per game: 2.4
* Shots per goal: 13
* Shooting accuracy: 40%

As the stats show, Sterling needs 9.5 shots per goal, which suggests that many of his shots are either not on target, or - for whatever reason - not powerful enough to beat the keeper. In both instances, scuffed/bobbled shots may be a contributing reason.

Sterling definitely needs to tighten up his finishing, but he's only 20, so improvement in his area will (hopefully) come naturally as his experience level increases.

Ultimately, as long as Sterling's scuffed-shots end up in the back of the net (like the Chelsea game), then it's not really a problem.



  1. Yah it will get beta in time

  2. You did well to resist the urge to mention the rumoured current contract wrangles. 55% shooting accuracy is actually pretty good, which suggests that Sterling's shots are weak or badly placed and easily saved. Actually it's his final ball in general that's needs work, not just his shooting. He makes good runs but too often ends up going nowhere when there are other options available to him, something that was exemplified in the game against Bolton the other night. I do rate Sterling, and I think he has a big future, but at the moment he's still a 'potential' player for me. I think in the absence of Suarez and Sturridge his importance has been overstated somewhat, and he has to an extent been indulged in this belief by his manager, team mates and also us, the fans.

  3. He rejected new contract offer for the 2nd time, looks like he is going on the next summer.............

  4. Sterling and Coutinho both suffer badly from being poor strikers of the ball they should get together and work like crazy on it.
    Suarez did and his work paid off but those two are way further back than he was at the time.

  5. I agree he needs to improve in that area but shooting accuracy at 55% is not bad o think.

  6. Scholes is spot-on. Sterling has yet to fulfil his potential and it is the final ball which is weak, whether it is a scuffed shot or a poor pass in the final third. I wonder if they brought Jordan Ibe back as little nudge for Sterling?

  7. I've had enough of this.

  8. I agree Sterling has a poor shot and currently seems to be more of an instinctive finisher than anything else. Coutinho has suffered the same plight but has improved slightly in his accuracy. The thing is with Coutinho, although he doesn't score enough I'm still content that he is brave enough to keeping trying. Sterling has great potential but is far from the finished article but he will improve with age. Ibe has a better shot on him but the last time watched him he still needs to work on his end product also.

  9. Isn't the 'striking of the ball' a natural gift, he's probably been striking a ball since he had nappies on you think if he's got it, he would have it by now.

  10. Indeed.. I understand that he needs some work done as all players do at his age, but majority of his shoots is just laughable... I remember one good lob and one power strike so far...

  11. But those good end products we all saw(?) from Darby gives you more to hope for when he plays...

  12. Canos and Chirivella have it, 'naturals'.

  13. Two of them know each other very well, and from what I read on the net are that kind of friends with high level of competitiveness. Read Sterling say he wouldn't like to be stuck in an elevator with Ibe becouse he would surely cry.. Or it was Ibe for Sterling, irrelevant..

  14. How do you watch their games, on net or from the stands maybe?

  15. So, a local guy? Do you know how does that lfctv works- do you get to watch all the games in all competitions live?

  16. Couldn't agree more.

  17. Alot of the U21 U18 games are live on LFCTV Go, but you can watch most of them later once they are put on the site. LFCTV on your TV is now subscription via sky etc but it is cheaper via GO online 45 quid a year.

  18. My only problem with him is the choices he makes. At times its easier to pass a team mate (Coutinho, Hendo, Borini) but Raheem thinks he should carry the team so much that HE and just him must shoot even if its easir to pass to a better placed teammate. Is it because he doubts the shooting abilities of his team mates such as Coutinho, Hendo and Borini?

  19. LFC tv does not show the games live. They usually show them 24 hrs later. They have live tv audio commentary throughout games and critical analysis at half time and after the games...

  20. I didn't see much of his Derby performances... I heard/read that he has been improving. Good player.

  21. Ist team games are not live

  22. So is there any legal way to watch the games on line?

  23. So is there any legal way to watch the games on line? thanks...

  24. It may be the case that watching 1st team games online e.g. 3 o'clock ko, is not illegal but I think transmitting them online is.

  25. I'm finally buying my own lap top so I want to pay for a good stream for our matches as not all are on tv here..

  26. Remember you will not see LFC 1st team games on LFCTV live. You can stream them though via various sites. Looks like Pay per View for all Prem League games may be made possible after the next round of bidding for TV rights.

  27. Usually there's Sky go or BTSPORT I'm not sure of the others... Illegally now...

  28. Yea mate I just said that.

  29. When is that? Sites I use (sportlemon, adthe) are good but still i miss out on a chance or two per game with refreshing and quality ain't really that brilliant..

  30. "Raheem Sterling is the new golden boy amongst Liverpool fans, and like
    Suarez, he is constantly revered and eulogised as if he's the perfect

    Almost everything I've ever read or heard about
    Sterling from Liverpool fans or from the club itself has included a
    statement along the lines of: "He's still young and has a lot to learn".
    People are excited about his potential. They are heavily invested in
    his success. But no-one, or no-one worth taking seriously, thinks he's an authentic, certified world-beater
    just yet, do they? I've not heard anything like that that I can recall.

    Finishing as a striker brings specific challenges which are new to Raheem. There's more to goalscoring than just either being able to strike the ball "naturally". I'm not persuaded that there's such a thing as a "natural goalscorer" anyway -- I don't think football is really hardwired into human nature :) Experience, training, and the qualities of speed, intelligence, and coordination count more than such fanciful notions.

    So this spell up front will really help Sterling
    in the long term, because he's having to look for answers in so many
    situations that a wide attacker, even an inside forward, would rarely
    find himself in. He's having to come up with finishes that wingers don't
    typically need. Strikers get less time on the ball, and typically don't
    get to flow into a finish the way wide attackers do. I'm positive it will make him a better creator in the long run.

    It speaks for the pressure the
    side's been under to find goals that we feel we need to make these
    demands of Sterling. It's somewhat excessive, because Raheem's
    outstanding quality is his end product, which is already *exceptional*
    for a young player. Sterling was focused on getting results for his good
    play right from the start. I've been remembering the wonderful moments
    he's given us already: the early goal against Man City at home last
    season. I've got that game on in the background as I write this. An all-time classic. They couldn't handle Sterling in the first half at all. But it's one thing producing those moments as a player always moving into space created by strikers, and another finding them *as* a striker. So let's not expect too much too soon.

  31. Bidding for 16-17,17-18 is happening now, with a decision in March. PL have said they are going to uphold the 3 o'clock blackout but the TV companies are arguing against this, and Ofcom are investigating it. As of 16-17 there will be 10 friday night games and 44% of PL games will be on TV.

  32. check out RiderHD's streams. There are almost all LFC games on that side always in high definition! if the stream goes down, it takes about 1-2 minutes and it's online again

  33. Buy Shamsys he is not going to be using his apparently

  34. streamfifamatches . t v

    you might also like this one :-)

    both streams are pretty stable and for free

  35. Scholes doesn't rate his ability to strike a ball not his ability to learn the striking role. Striking a ball with exceptional quality on a consistent basis can be improved with practice and training but there has to be an element of natural ability or else we would all do it. Beckham had a natural ability to strike the ball but still practised for hours. Inbuilt 'timing' is another way to describe it, the best golfers, tennis players etc all have it. SG has it, you rarely see him scuff a shot and he has been like this from a kid.

  36. To be honest Sterling is just a talented kid who is slowly realizing his potential on the pitch.

    He just turned 20 and has only been playing up front for a few matches. His finishing and shots have never been his strong points, but then again Suarez was as bad in his 1st team and he was 24 years old.

    He will improve but he needs time. Some players have a natural talent of finishing, others have to work at it. Just give the kid time.

    I think it would help if he was played in a specific postions rather than swapping him around often. This season he has played in wing, left and right, behind the strikers and as a ST. BR needs to settle him.

    I think Sterling just needs to carry on and training hard.

  37. All true. Probably I'm just arguing with Scholes because... well he's Paul Scholes isn't he? Not having him getting a free pass to criticise Liverpool players, however constructively :)

    I guess I'm wondering about the different kinds of seemingly "natural" ability which are more or less right for different roles. The ability to strike the ball sweetly doesn't make or break a striker. In all Gerrard's goals there are very few striker's goals. What I mean is goals from 1-1s, from line-leading movements to find space and finish first time, finishes under pressure with a man at your shoulder. He can *strike* a ball sweetly, sure, but that's not the same thing as being able to *finish*.

    The finishes that a striker needs require different skills and timing than those of a midfielder. How many times in his life did Ian Rush strike the ball as well as Gerrard does in a single game? Does that make sense? Probably a bit pedantic.

  38. Last game vs Bolton, he was trying too many turns, rolls & croissants when he should have just shot the ball or better yet, given the ball to Coutinho, who was near by with no one tracking him. End product needs polishing was known fact for some time now from everyone seeing him. Good goal vs Chelsea. Another player who needs final end product finishing is Manquillo, who had many point blank shots gone kaput! Good defender though.

  39. Scholes is dead right. Sterling sure is an exciting talent and he sure puts in his shift but he's not a finisher. I doubt he ever will be. It's like with Coutinho. They have their skills but they can't whallop a ball.

  40. I'm sure I read somewhere CR7's shots per goal are also among the worst....

  41. True about Rushie, not the greatest striker of a ball but one of the greatest finishers of all time, now there's a natural goal scorer if ever I saw one and I saw him a lot.

  42. Friday night, damn that is not football time..

  43. Don't play the game thank you, just want my team to start buying class, quality players and not average dead wood/mediocre players is that problem.

    I have enough of the pathetic players being brought to club

  44. A striker who can't shoot is holding out for 100k per week.

    What's wrong with this picture?

  45. Rushie didn't scuff scots. He arrowhead them into the corners.

  46. nothing unless Columbia Pictures buy the right to this picture and make him a superstar

  47. that's fan fiction and good business for Opta Stats
    as long as the goals are delivered, who cares - the stats sellers & one's into stats rather than the game

  48. Yokohama Liverpool Fan2:50 pm, January 26, 2015

    Sterling is being greedy and holding the Club to ransom. The Club is right to haggle. Johnson is deadwood and has not shown anything to deserve a contract and neither has Allen.

  49. Lets be fair here, D Sturridge(25) has been out injured since September 2014 and he got new contract of £150-£160,000 a week.

    Why wouldn't R Sterling(20) not expect £100,000 a week, he is only player in whole squad all the top Europeans clubs are after because he is only going to get better and he is fearless, who ever he comes against he will take on and get at no matter who they are!!!!!!

  50. Yokohama Liverpool Fan2:59 pm, January 26, 2015

    Rodgers and the transfer committee have collectively demonstrated their lack of judgement and ability to spot, bargain or seal a deal. So the reality is we have to balance the books and lose money on the deadwood (with the exception of Assaidi) before we can even contemplate signing anyone new.

    I say give the youngsters a chance. Texeira and Ibe can hopefully grow into another integral teamplayer like Sterling. Something has to give.

  51. Yokohama Liverpool Fan3:29 pm, January 26, 2015

    There's quite a difference between 20 and 25. We give into him wanting to triple his wages in his first raise then what does that mean for his remaining career.

  52. And it seems Europe has been fooled too as he was voted young European player

  53. Didn't he have a poor start though ......It's not how you start I suppose but everyone takes time to become legends

  54. If there is one player at Liverpool who has earned contract top up it is him. And if we keep haggling it will be over as the top European teams will have no problem paying Sterling (20) £150,000+ a week . When some of their stars on double that now

  55. We need a striker capable of goals, it doesn't need to be a superstar signing, just a goalscorer that can adapt quickly to the way LFC play, hell Giovinco was available for next to nothing from Juve. I'm not saying he's a solution longterm, but compared to what we have, he would be a definate upgrade, he's fast and versatile, and even better cheaper than Lambert... We only need another injury to Sturridge and we're back in this position, an injury to Sterling aswell and we're screwed...

  56. The Daily Star guy will not give up his story inventions title - Stirling to Chelsea £50 million.

  57. I can see it now with the big trailer:

    IN A WORLD.... where a 20 year old striker can't shoot but holds out for 100k per week...

  58. Yokohama Liverpool Fan4:11 pm, January 26, 2015

    Sterling has 2 years left on his contract so LFC still have the upper hand. I do not agree anyone should start rejecting an offer that doubles their wages after one decent season. I also disagree with the notion that he's the best player at LFC. He's still a rough diamond, wasteful in front of goal and is not consistently a gsme changer as demonstrated against Bolton. Currently Sturridge and Gerrard are better than him and Markovic and Coutinho aren't far behind.
    Henderson can be more influential when he wants to be.

    If other Clubs come in and his misplaced ego and lack of loyalty lead to him leaving so be it. He's not bigger than the Club period. If he gets 20 goals or a hatful of assists then talk about a raise.

  59. There's no dog in it?

  60. In our whole squad, Coutinho(22), Lallana(26), Sterling(20) and Sturridge(25) could play for the best sides in Europe no Problem.

    S Gerrard(34) is 6-7 years past his best and if we had better players and better manager he would have been rested well and used wisely.

    If Sterling(20) leaves or is sold , we would be screwed.

    Coutinho(22) is luxury player who if he could sort out his finishing and be more consistant home and away and score more goals he would be £30M player easy and oust Oscar(23) out of the Brazil national team but until then he will watch while Oscar(23) bangs them in for fun for Brazil.

    Lallana(26) is another Luxury player who is so weak and doesn't score enough goals either.

    D Sturridge(25) is class and quality but Injury prone, so for you to think Sterling(20) is currently not our best player by a country mile you have not watched us this season.

    He is the one player everyone Liverpool fan dreads gets injured and slyly hopes is playing every game as he is constant threat and getting better and better , he is not striker and never ever will be a striker but he has scored and created more goals than our £31M useless strikers with have on bench ( Balotelli(24), Borini(23) and R Lambert(32) )

  61. Yokohama Liverpool Fan4:41 pm, January 26, 2015

    We could have signed Remy and Bojan for next to nothing. Even Bony could have been purchased for 20m.

    Unfortunately Suarez leaving, Sturridge getting injured, Borini staying, Aspas still on the books and Lambert's signing all coincided this season. Not to mention we also have Origi to come next season.

    Losing Sanchez to Arsenal was a blow as he was our marquee player or replacement for Suarez. There weren't/aren't many other quality strikers/fwds who would have the work ethic, ability, mobility and profligacy that could lead the line. Another question is their availability. Balotelli was a panic buy before the window shut.

    Now there is absolutely no excuse that our transfer committee failed to find a suitable replacement or do better than we did in replacing Suarez in the time we had. Rodger's misplaced confidence that we will pickup from where we left last season with the added depth and thinking that the team will just gel with Sturridge leading the line was naive anf it had taken half a season for all the players to gel.

    It was always going to be a season of transition and patience. Lallana and Markovic were brought in to add to the goals as well so that we would have depth in attack and Can is looking promising. Moreno can also become that long awaited star leftback. Unfortunately we will have to sort out our right. Flanaghan's injury couldn't have come at s worse time.

    Anyway I will be very surprised if we bring anyone in this window. In the summer we should go all out for Lacazette and a striker of Benzema's ilk. We can only try!

  62. Yokohama Liverpool Fan5:08 pm, January 26, 2015

    If he leaves we will put all the money towards signing a decent replacement therefore not getting screwed. And as I mentioned previously he has 2 years left on his contract.

    Who can replace him? Shaqiri could have done , Lacazette definitely can and there are options out there.

    I just do not agree that any player no matter how good he is or thinks he is should have the power to negotiate tripling his wages. I'm against the principal of it all. It will send out the wrong message to the rest of the team and to any prospective player we may sign inthe future. We don't want any mercenaries.

    Bh the way I have been watching Liverpool this season and I'm still not convinced he's the best player by a "country mile" which is an exaggeration.
    Our goal return is still abysmal and our recent upturn in performances or resurgence has been led by Lucas, Sakho and Can. Sterling's goal against Chelsea is the one of very few game changing momets in a series of poor finishing and ability to cross or assist throughout the season.

    He's good but our poor return from the strikers Brendan and the transfer committee have brought in has exsggerated his importance.

  63. SCholes is correct - but hate to admit it.After we get knocked out tomorrow night B R will realise that unless we get a striker in then our season is effectively over and the last news fans want to hear is that Johnson is staying - no no no no no

  64. Yokohama obviously you have faith in our abyzmal transfer committee.

    For last 6 seasons we have sold all or top or world class players and replaced them with average mediocre players and maybe one star player.

    We have Alonso(32) and Mascherano(30) sold both for combined total of £50M

    Yet the likes of C Adam(29), A Aquilani(30), J Allen(24), J Henderson(24) and E Can(20) are nowhere near the class or quality those two brought to club.

    We sold Torres(30) at his peak and brought in A Carroll(26) and L Suarez(27) . L Suarez(27) became better than Torres(30) and we sold him and have replaced him with Balotelli(24) and Lambert(32) serious downgrade

    The players B Rodgers needs to build side around is Coutinho(22), Lallana(26), Sterling(20) and Sturridge(25) as in few years time Barcelona and Real Madrid will be sniffing around Coutinho(22) , The top clubs in Europe are currently after Sterling(20) but when Coutinho(22) sorts out his shooting, finishing and scoring goals and he starts playing consistantly well away from home also.

    He will be wanted. And Those 4 players i have mentioned are the only players in our squad who could walk into the top sides in our league and Europe. The other 21 would not !!

  65. Coutinho's shots are even worse

  66. Yokohama Liverpool Fan6:13 pm, January 26, 2015

    I just stated that our transfer committee's inability to bring in a decent replacement for Suarez has hurt us and has greatly exaggerated the importance of our rising 20 year old star.

    Yes it is a sad state of affairs. Regarding the downgrades I whole heartedly agee with you. We have steadily been downgrading our Club since the end of the Benitez era. And that includes the backroom staff, scouts, youth coaches et c to ensure we don't do a Leeds and financially implode.

    Having said that our revenue streams are improving commercially and we are run much better now with less debt snd are looking to improve things further by expanding Anfield. The reality is we still won't be able to compete financially for the top level talents but can sure try to compete on the Arsenal/Dortmund model.

    This means signing rough diamonds amd risk losing them once they have matured like Mascherano, Alonso, Torres and Suarez.

    There is less chance of the talent leaving for brighter pastures if say the player is English. Like Hemderson for example.

    Of course there are exceptions like Owen, Beckham, Bale etc but we have to hope the FSG project will come good. Poaching Southampton's scouts anf bringing in a smooth negotiator to seal the transfet deals will be a start.

  67. Dunno about arrowed... stabbed, poked, jabbed, prodded, flipped...! He could shoot fiercely though, it's true, I don't mean to underrate him.

    But the thing I remember most about his finishing wasn't his ability to strike the ball, but how good he was at just beating the keeper with a simple touch of the ball: like digging it over the keeper with a bit of pace -- an accurate first time clipped finish, not dinked, but still rising when it hit the back of the net, almost a toe-poke. You don't have to hit the corner like a midfielder shooting from 20 yards, as a striker you just have to beat the keeper...

    Thinking about what Rush would do for us now has made me a bit sombre. Ah well!

  68. I bet Rodgers feels sick to the stomach when he thinks back about insulting Spurs, saying any club that a spends that amout of money should be challenging for the title, luckily for him, it hasn't been thrown back in his face by the Spurs faithful...
    People wonder what we'd do if Balotelli did leave, my thought is, much the same...
    Danny Ings is on a free in the summer, meaning a respectful offer now may seal the deal.. He may only have 6 months PL experience, but he is scoring goals for Burnley... Could be just the ticket, with all the attributes we want from a LFC player, hard working, versatile team player... Forget Lacazette, Higuian, Benzema and co, buy Ings and have change for the GK and CM..

  69. I agree with pretty much all of your excellent post except the bit about natural finishers. Natural finishers don't have to consciously decide what to do to score in any given situation; it happens instinctively- The brain assesses decides, and tells the body to execute as a reflex rather than considered action.
    These players are very few and far between. Owen had it. Rush had it. And of course Fowler had it.
    These guys often couldn't describe their goals when asked about them afterwards- they just did it, in a flash. You can teach a player to assess different situations and practice their execution to improve scoring ratios. But you can't teach someone to be an instinctive, natural finisher.

  70. Some of Rushie's volleyed goals were incredible. Have a look on You Tube

  71. He is in a side with lots of players who are paid very well and have failed in their primary function. Johnson is a defender that can't defend but was on that much for over 4 years

  72. Suarez was a better finisher than Sterling was sure he missed some easy ones now and again but he scored some gems and his scoring record in Holland was immaculate.

  73. Plenty of things for him to improve on. If he does, he'll be a world-beater.