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Sunday 17 December 2017

Brendan Rodgers has heaped huge praise on his under-fire winger Raheem Sterling as Liverpool prepared for Wednesday's visit of reigning European champions Real Madrid with a lucky 3-2 victory at QPR.

Brendan Rodgers has heaped huge praise on his under-fire winger Raheem Sterling as Liverpool prepared for Wednesday's visit of reigning European champions Real Madrid with a lucky 3-2 victory at QPR.

Sterling shook off controversy over claims he complained of tiredness in the build-up to England's Euro 2016 qualifier in Estonia to mastermind Liverpool's patchy Loftus Road win.

And Rodgers will be looking for more of the same from his jet-heeled winger in the Champions League clash with Real at Anfield in two days' time.

"I thought his cleverness and brightness led to the first goal," said Rodgers of Sterling. "The best players come alive when the game goes dead, whether it's a throw-in or in the game. Some players look for a rest or try to get organised, but the bright players come alive.

"He spotted it, played it early: it was a great run from Glen Johnson to invite the quick ball, and obviously a great cross that the defender turned in.

"And the breakaways for the other two, they are just all about his speed, his technique, his courage to carry the ball, run with the ball.

"It was great courage and cleverness from him today."

Meanwhile, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti has denied he is interested in signing Sterling but admitted he is an admirer of the 19-year-old, saying: "Sterling is a player of great quality, certainly one of the best in Europe. But we already have extraordinary talent here."

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