I knew I had to change - Sterling

Raheem Sterling says he is reaping the rewards on the pitch after making changes to his personal life following talks with Brendan Rodgers.

Having broken into the Liverpool first team last season the forward struggled to maintain his form before Christmas and more often than not found himself on the substitutes' bench.

The 19-year-old admitted at the time that he found it tough to keep pace with the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, but a chat with Rodgers made him change his whole approach.

He was rewarded with a run of games in the second half of the campaign and a place in England's World Cup squad in Brazil.

"It has been a massive 12 months," he told The Daily Mirror. "Last year I wasn't in the team and it was difficult for me, but it was also a great learning curve.

"It made me sit down and reflect on what I needed to do to get where I wanted to be.

"I knew I had to make changes to ensure I could be the best.

"I try to block everything out. I still see my friends on days off, but I have tried to just live, sleep and eat football as the manager has told me to do.

"Going into training each day, coming home and going back to training. That's been it over the last 12 months. I have made sacrifices and that has been a huge step forward. That’s one of the main reasons my form improved.

"I'm in the public eye and realised I had to change certain stuff maybe I would do if I wasn't playing football. That helps me, not just off the field, but on it as well and maybe you can see that now."

Sterling has continued to impress this season with two goals in the opening three Premier League games.