Rodgers excited by Sterling development

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expects Raheem Sterling to become increasingly prolific as his career goes on.

In the continued absence of Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli's poor form, the 20-year-old England international has been deployed in a central striking role by Rodgers in recent weeks.

Sterling scored the only goal in Friday's 1-0 win at Burnley and also grabbed a brace in a League Cup victory over Bournemouth earlier this month, but had previously endured a long barren run in front of goal.

However, Rodgers is confident Sterling, who managed 10 goals in 38 club appearances last term, will find the net on a more regular basis in the future.

"I think there are players who are naturally born goalscorers. They live to score goals, they want to score goals," said Rodgers ahead of Monday's home game against Swansea City.

"Some are not so worried what they do in the build-up, not so worried how much they work but they want to score a goal and they have that ability to get a goal.

"And then you get other players - top-class players who work very hard and have that ability to score a lot of goals and create goals. So I think it's something you can develop with confidence over the course of your career. And I think you'll see his numbers, as his career goes on, improve and improve.

"But for me I'm very, very happy with his performance. He's gone into that role, he's offered us a real threat, his pace in every game is phenomenal but he's got that little composure now at the end.

"He's going to miss some chances of course but as you've seen [against Burnley] the one opportunity that he had, he took it."

Sterling has been the subject of increased attention having established himself as a key figure for Liverpool and England.

"He deals with it so well. I think he deals with it so well," Rodgers added.

"If you have the talent you're going to be under that scrutiny and we protect the players as much as we can but I've seen him develop into a wonderful young man. He's got great maturity.

"When you're so good people want to talk about you. He obviously recognises that the higher he climbs the ladder people want to criticise you more as well.

"But that's all part of the dance as you say. But I'm delighted to work with him and hopefully we can work together for a long time."