Of all the disappointing things that have happened this season, one of the biggest surely has been the play of Raheem Sterling.
Billed as the saviour of our attack — not a striker, but certainly a goal-getter — Sterling has managed just four (4) Premier League goals, his lowest output since his first full season as a senior professional at Liverpool some ten years ago. He had scored in double-digits in each of the past five seasons, including a 30-goal season (all competitions) in 2019-20, but of course it’s one thing to play for Manchester City’s high-powered attack, and another to try to breathe life into Chelsea anemic one.
For what it’s worth, Sterling does have three goals in just seven Champions League appearances this season, including the one against Borussia Dortmund in our fantastic comeback in the Round of 16 (despite not playing all that well in the game). And he does have plenty of experience on the biggest of stages for both club and country. We could use some of that veteran leadership and will-to-win this week and next.
Frank Lampard certainly knows how those sorts of intangibles can lead to unlikely outcomes in knockout competition, and he’s hoping that the real Raheem Sterling can help us achieve that again. If the real Raheem Sterling would like to show up, that is.
“I think he’s a fantastic player. He’s been one of the best wingers in the world for a long time, at times, maybe in some people’s opinion, the best. I can’t remember how many times I’ve referenced to young wingers when I was here previously at Chelsea, at Derby and Everton actually — watch Raheem Sterling and see why he scores 20 goals a season plus so I have the highest feeling for him in that sense.
“[Of course] we also have to get the right team structure to make it best for the players and then drive them [but] I just think he’s a top player Those things are always kind of like 50/50 for me – getting the right structure for the player and then the player themselves but Raheem has shown what a player he is.
“[He] certainly is a player of a high level and a high competence level and understanding of the game that it won’t faze him. In fact, he’s risen to games like that before in the past so that’s something we’ll obviously rely on in terms of this because some elements of the squad are maybe a bit younger. Raheem has been there and done it and there’s history of producing.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Sounds like Raheem’s starting on Wednesday then. He won’t be the only one who will have to rise well above the levels we’ve seen recently.