By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Liverpool needed to get back to winning ways after their draw against Stoke before the international break and Reading were the perfect opponents to give Brendan Rodgers the much-needed three points. They rarely threatened the Liverpool goal and were frequently caught out of position when Liverpool romped forward.
Sterling scored the only goal of the game after combining well with Luis Suarez who was unlucky to not get a goal in the game himself after producing a typically eye-catching performance.
Youngster Suso, who recently signed an extenstion to his contract, also impressed in bursts while Brad Jones, deputising for the injured Pepe Reina, grabbed a clean sheet.
Brad Jones - 7.5
The Australian was rarely called into action as Liverpool pegged Reading into their own half before the break. In the second half, he closed down McCleary when the midfielder managed to sneak past the defence, and also made some smart saves to maintain a clean sheet.
Andre Wisdom - 7
The 19-year-old didn't have to worry much as Reading rarely provided cause for concern down his flank but he did well with the first team opportunity.
Martin Skrtel - 7.5
The Slovakian had an easy day out and made sure that Jones kept his clean sheet with several crucial tackles.
Daniel Agger - 7
Agger was equally robust in defence but a rash challenge earned him a needless card.
Glen Johnson - 7
Johnson had a number of shots at goal although he could not get a lot of them on target. Playing down the left, it was apparent that the England international has a weak left foot and needs to place his shots towards the corner instead of banging them straight at the keeper.
Steven Gerrard - 7.5
The Liverpool captain allowed his team-mates to star in the game and played a less prominent role than usual. Passed the ball around with ease and turned his attention to helping the midfield in the many skirmishes in the middle of the park.
Joe Allen - 7.5
Allen provided his usual brand of tidy passing and repeatedly frustrated Reading by making the interceptions just when their attacks seemed to be gaining momentum.
Nuri Sahin (off 63') - 8
The Turkish midfielder demonstrated good vision and repeatedly found Sterling in acres of space down the left. He could have gotten a goal for himself as well but he skied the shot over the bar after getting on the end of a Sterling pass.
Suso (off 75') - 8
The youngster's first touch and passing was often brilliant and he linked up really well with Suarez. He faded as the game went on, however, and perhaps that's a sign that the Spaniard needs to improve on his stamina if he is to make the most of his first-team opportunities in the Premier League.
Raheem Sterling (off 85') - 8.5
In yet another impressive display, Sterling became Liverpool's second-youngest goalscorer after Michael Owen after capitalising on a flick-on by Suarez and scoring a classy finish past McCarthy in the first half. Always a livewire with the ball, he also did his best to help his team-mates throughout the game and was the best player on the night.
Luis Suárez - 8
The Uruguayan striker was a handful for the Reading defence and could have easily scored a brace if he had been a bit more accurate with his shots. His passing was top-notch though.
Jonjo Shelvey (on 63') - 7
He was the recipient of a brilliant long cross by Suarez shortly after coming on but his first touch let him down. Otherwise, Shelvey was comfortable on the ball and made a good return from suspension at Anfield.
Jose Enrique (on 65') - 7
The Spaniard was a lot more efficient with his crosses than Johnson and nearly helped Suarez get a goal as well.
Jordan Henderson (on 85') - N/A
Alex McCarthy - 5
McCarthy couldn't do much to prevent Sterling's shot from going in but was generally poor in the game. A lazy goal kick which was intercepted by Suarez epitomised how he was not always fully focused in the game.
Shaun Cummings - 5
The right-back was to blame for leaving Sterling unmarked down the left and was lucky that the winger did not score more than just the one goal.
Kaspars Gorkšs - 4
The centre-back tried to substitute physicality for positioning and nearly caused Suarez a serious injury towards the end of the first half. The Reading defence's lack of pace was exposed by the Liverpool striker and the Royals really need to tighten up at the back a lot more if they are to avoid relegation this season.
Adrian Mariappa - 5
The Jamaica international made several determined blocks but could not coordinate the defence to prevent Liverpool from finding space to shoot.
Nicky Shorey - 5
A dangerous free-kick notwithstanding, Shorey was unable to track Suarez & co and was largely poor in the game.
Jem Karacan (off 25') - N/A
An injury early on ended Karacan's match after the midfielder got off worse in a clash of boots with Gerrard.
Mikele Leigertwood - 5
The central midfielder could not combine well with McAnuff and Guthrie and his attempts to win the ball were easily handled by the Liverpool players.
Jimmy Kébé - 7
The Mali international was the only Reading midfielder who looked capable of holding his own against Liverpool and did his best to keep hold of the ball. Unfortunately, there were rarely any team-mates in the vicinity for him to really work with in the game.
Jobi McAnuff - 6
A swerving shot in the second half that needed Jones' full attention was the only worthy contribution by the Reading captain in the game.
Danny Guthrie (off 81') - 5
The former Liverpool midfielder could not prevent his side from continuing their winless run and hit a free-kick harmlessly over the bar when he was given an opportunity in the first half.
Pavel Pogrebnyak (off 75') - 6
It's always tough to play as a lone striker but Pogrebnyak did not use his height and strength to his advantage and rarely threatened Jones' goal.
Garath McCleary (on 25') - 7
He had the best opportunity for the Royals as he was sent clear with only Jones to beat but did not have the composure to slot the ball past the goalkeeper.
Adam Le Fondre (on 75') - N/A
Jason Roberts (on 81') - N/A