Could Raheem Sterling play as a false nine for Liverpool?

Raheem Sterling

Brendan Rodgers could use the 19-year-old to solve the Reds' striker woes.

At the moment, there is nothing Raheem Sterling looks like he can’t do.

Score goals? Check. Create chances? Check. Beat his man? Please, that box was checked months ago.

At the same time, however, Liverpool fans are crying out for another striker to be brought to Anfield after the failed move for Queens Park Rangers forward Loic Remy.

Daniel Sturridge is one of the most reliable in the game at the moment – but what happens if the 24-year-old gets injured? Rickie Lambert is only suited to a certain style of play, while Fabio Borini could yet leave Merseyside before the start of the new season.

Those are the motives behind many fans’ pleas for a new forward, either to partner Sturridge or replace him when he is unavailable.

But let’s imagine for a second that the Reds’ current squad is exactly the one Brendan Rodgers takes into their forthcoming Premier League campaign – with no new striker signed. Disaster? Not by any means.

In fact, there is a secret weapon Rodgers could use in the case of injuries or suspensions, one the likes of Pep Guardiola and Vicente del Bosque would be all too quick to approve.

Remember that 19-year-old, who can score goals, create chances and beat his man? Well, on current form, there is no reason the sensational Sterling could not put a shift in up front as a false nine.

The England international is already a forward, one who can terrorise the best of defences. Playing him in the middle of a front three or on his own up front would simply reduce his workload tracking back, giving him even more freedom in the final third. Sterling is young and ready to learn.

With Lazar Markovic, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana to choose from, meanwhile, there will be plenty of options to deploy in the position Sterling would normally adopt in behind.

The 19-year-old has already shown flashes of his usual brilliance in pre-season and, quite often, he has been in an even more advanced position than the striker ahead of him. Should Sturridge or Lambert get injured, then, there is no reason Rodgers cannot simply start Sterling as the highest man on the field, building the rest of his team around him.

It is a tactic that could save Liverpool a lot of agony – and one that could take Sterling himself to the next level.

Could Sterling play as a false nine?

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