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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Aug 3, 2014

Sterling: I'll follow Ronaldo, Messi lead

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno takes a look at where Alberto Moreno would fit into Liverpool's defense.

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling says he must learn from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi if he is to fill the void left by Luis Suarez.

- Delaney: English football's best also-rans

Sterling is keen to swap the wing for the No. 10 role at Anfield, but is concerned he will face rough treatment from opposition defenders.

The 19-year-old believes that, while he is not on the same level as Ronaldo and Messi, he can follow their example on how to deal with getting kicked.

"I've started off playing out wide and the manager [Brendan Rodgers] has trusted me a bit more to play in the No.10 role," Sterling told the Sun. "I'd like to see myself more inside. I want to mix my game up, not always try to take the man on but play one or two touches and get in behind defenders.

"In this game, you've just got to look at people like Messi or Ronaldo, they get kicked all the time. If you are getting kicked a lot on the pitch, it must mean that you are a threat to the opposition because they want to stop you as early as possible.

Raheem Sterling will have added responsibility this season.

"I'm not saying I'm a Messi or Ronaldo but it's the same that, if you are in an attacking position, defenders will try to kick you. You've got to keep your temper, keep calm and try to score."

Sterling insists he can help Rodgers' side cope with the departure of Suarez, who moved to Barcelona for 75 million pounds earlier this summer.

He believes Rodgers has used the transfer market effectively to fill the gap but, as well as becoming the latest Liverpool face to back Daniel Sturridge to make the step up, says he needs more freedom to improve his game.

ALL-TIME HIGHEST TRANSFER FEES

1) £85m Gareth Bale -- Tottenham to Real Madrid, Sept. 2013

2) £80m Cristiano Ronaldo -- Man Utd to R Madrid, June 2009

3) £75m Luis Suarez -- Liverpool to Barcelona, July 2014

4) £71m James Rodriguez -- Monaco to Real Madrid, July 2014

5) £59.7m Angel Di Maria -- R Madrid to Man Utd, August 2014

6) £56m Kaka -- AC Milan to Real Madrid, June 2009

"Luis was a big part of last year, so he will be missed massively," Sterling said. "But you've got Daniel Sturridge up front and you've got players the manager brought in to fill that void.

"There is definitely more to come [from me]. I just need a bit more freedom to play my own game. Hopefully I can take my game to the next level and improve my goals-to-game ratio."

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