No Pressure, Kids: Rodgers Demands Goals From Sterling and Coutinho

Alex Livesey

Liverpool's strikers may be on pace to break records by season's end, but that hasn't stopped Brendan Rodgers from hoping a few of his young stars step up and join in the regular goal fests.

Not content with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge combining for 32 league goals so far this season, Brendan Rodgers is hoping his attack-minded midfielders like Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho will take things up a notch and start contributing a wee bit more in the scoring department.

"When you play in those attacking positions it's your job to create and score goals," Rodgers said. "A player with their quality will say they want more goals and obviously I will demand more goals from them. We have also been the top scorers over the last calendar year, so I still think we have enough of a goal threat but in order for Raheem to develop and improve he needs to create and score more.

"I think Coutinho will get more too. I look at him as a [Luka] Modric type. And when you look at Modric over four years at Tottenham he got 13 goals [in the league] but his influence was massive and Coutinho is of that type. He will naturally get more goals but he is a wonderful player for us, he is a key who opens up many things in a game."

Sterling's stock has been rising over the last six weeks or so, but it's Coutinho who has come in for some criticism during the same time frame. Phil's proclivity for shooting off target has been his most visible transgression for many, but it distracts from the role Rodgers mentions where the diminutive Brazilian plays an important part in creatively unlocking defenses.

"There's no doubt they will want to improve it but I don't want to put pressure on to do that," Rodgers added. "They know what their job is. If you put too much pressure on a creative player it can stifle them and can affect their overall performance."

Demanding more goals but not putting any pressure on a player to do so seem to be concepts that are somewhat at odds with one another, but if anyone can strike the correct balance between the two, it's Brendan "man manager" Rodgers. Sterling and Coutinho are fortunate to be playing alongside the league's best strike force, and there are fewer better for the two of them to study under.

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