Back in mid-April, Brendan Rodgers called Raheem Sterling the best young player in Europe. This came on the heels of Liverpool's 3-2 win at Norwich in which the 19-year-old scored twice, and, given the body of work the young forward had put together since early December of 2013, it wasn't simply a case of Rodgers' tendency toward hyperbole getting the best of him. At that moment, Sterling was probably one of the best young players in Europe. And, judging by the evidence in the time that's passed, he's only strengthened his case.
Playing under Roy Hodgson in the England setup did him no favors, but he still managed to work his way into an integral role for the national side, finding himself at the heart of nearly everything--so those two or three things over the course of their time in Brazil--exciting that they put together. Back with Liverpool on the preseason tour, Sterling's picked up where he left off in laying the groundwork for another impressive season.
Against both Olympiacos and Manchester City, he's combined well going forward and asserted himself as one of Liverpool's go-to forwards in the post-Suarez era. Against City at Yankee Stadium he showcased every facet of his game in attack; pace, vision, distribution, and finishing were all on display, giving Liverpool a new dimension along with the introductions of Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho.
Meaningless matches for now, of course, but if Raheem Sterling manages to keep it up in a season that will see Liverpool back in the Champions League, he'll only continue to prove his manager right.