Sterling still adapting to role

The 20-year-old England international has scored four goals in eight matches since he was given the responsibility of leading the line against Manchester United in mid-December.

His equaliser against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup semi-final, first-leg tie on Tuesday was his seventh goal of the campaign and he is closing in on the career-best tally of 10 he registered last season.

Sterling was criticised after his first match as a striker when he missed a simple one-on-one chance with United goalkeeper David de Gea and could easily have scored a hat-trick, but he has worked hard since then and reined in some of his youthful exuberance.

“It is a role I am learning and adapting to, but that is something if you want to be a good player you have to adapt to different positions, and that is something I am keen on doing,” he said.

“When I get in front of goal sometimes I get a bit excited thinking I’ve done it all, but now I am keeping focused and trying to get my game to the next level and chip in with more goals and assists.

“I have personal targets but I don’t want to share them in case I don’t reach them, but I always set myself goals and standards I want to meet and that is no different this season.

“I don’t know about a target man role but I like to get on the ball as much as possible. As long as it is not too high in the air I will try to fight for the ball.

“It is good to play with players like Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho, who gets on the ball and tries to create stuff.

“It is always a joy to be running in and being on the receiving end and trying to finish their great play.”