Raheem Sterling’s performances up front in his last two appearances for Liverpool have resulted in Brendan Rodgers comparing him to Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
The Gunners famously signed the Chilean from FC Barcelona ahead of us due to a desire to live in London and for the opportunity to play alongside Mesut Ozil, and judging by his performances for Arsene Wenger, it’s hard not to think he would have been an absolutely superb replacement for Luis Suarez.
“He’s a fantastic player and would have suited us,” said Rodgers to Sky Sports at the time. “His profile would have been great but it was not to be and we move on.”
However, the failure to land Sanchez resulted in Rodgers turning to Mario Balotelli – and, in the absence of the Italian through injury – Raheem Sterling has been played up front.
“You get different types of striker,” explained Rodgers after Sterling’s two goal salvo against AFC Bournemouth.
“He’s more of an Alexis Sanchez when he plays as a striker – he’s not going to pin the defender. He plays in the spaces and he’s got the speed to get in behind.”
The 20 year-old has given the Reds another dimension up front; although he didn’t find the back of the net against Manchester United, it has been a long time since we have created so many chances in a game, and only a frustratingly superb performance from David De Gea in the Red Devils’ goal kept Sterling (and Balotelli) off the scoreline.
Regardless, Sterling’s movement and trickery on the ball could certainly be compared to Sanchez, but the Arsenal forward is at present a more prolific finisher and stronger physically.
Given Sterling’s youth and tremendous potential, however, he could well match and overtake Sanchez in the long run.