Sterling burst into the scene this season and has made 35 appearances for the Reds so far - only star striker Luis Suarez and skipper Steven Gerrard have made more appearances than the 18-year-old.
However, Sterling has been relegated to the bench after Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge joined Liverpool in January and Rodgers revealed that it is part of plans to prevent Sterling from burning out.
"This is a kid we're talking about, so we have to take a wee step back," Rodgers told the Daily Mail.
"This league is so mentally and physically draining, it hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy.
"The zip has gone and that's down to fatigue. But was that to be expected? Yes it was. I was talking to him the other day about this, and if he didn't kick another ball this season he's had a good one.
"So we have to nurture him and protect him - it's just a very demanding league."
Sterling has started only three out of Liverpool's last 10 matches across all competitions.