Liverpool set to blood teen sensation Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling, young Liverpool striker

The young striker, aged 16, can only travel to Prague with the Liverpool squad as it’s half term

BY Jonathan Harwood LAST UPDATED AT 16:02 ON Wed 16 Feb 2011

Who needs Fernando Torres? Liverpool could be about to unveil their new secret weapon, teenage striker Raheem Sterling, who at the age of 16 will become the youngest player to turn out for the Reds if he plays against Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The youngster, who was signed from QPR last season is a surprise inclusion in Kenny Dalglish's squad for the game on Thursday, and can only make the trip because it comes during his school's half-term break.

Sterling will be 16 years and 71 days old on Thursday, and if he does play will break the record set by his Under-18s team mate Jack Robinson, who played for the first team against Hull last season when he was 16 years and 250 days old.

That other famous Liverpool striker, Michael Owen, was more than a year older than Sterling is now when he made his debut for the club in 1997.

Sterling may well be worth his place in the squad, which contains several other youngsters. He is in fine form at the moment, and although the senior team has struggled this season Sterling, who joined Liverpool just under a year ago for a reported fee of £500,000, has gone from strength to strength. On Monday he scored five goals as Liverpool's youngsters beat Southend 9-0 in an FA Youth Cup game.

While his name will be unfamiliar to many, if not most, Liverpool fans, keen students of the game will already know all about him.

Before signing for Liverpool he was courted by Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Fulham when he was a schoolboy with QPR. Those who have watched him also say that he is as good as, if not better than, Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott were at the same age.

That helps explain why Liverpool were prepared to risk so much money on a player who never featured in the QPR first team.

The London club might be annoyed at losing such a promising player at such a young age but they may still reap the benefits. It was reported that the deal to take him to Anfield could end up being worth £2m to the Hoops.

Things seem to be panning out pretty well for Sterling as well, he will apparently sign a £300,000-a-year deal with Liverpool when he turns 17. · 

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