Sterling: Champions League is no excuse for poor form

Liverpool have lost three of their opening five Premier League games, with Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to West Ham coming four days after narrowly beating Ludogorets in Europe

Raheem Sterling has called on Liverpool to adapt to the added demands of Champions League football.

The club are back in Europe’s elite club competition after a five-year absence this season, but have lost three of their opening five top-flight fixtures this term following Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to West Ham.

Liverpool are already seven points adrift of unbeaten leaders Chelsea, but Sterling is not using the Champions League as a reason for his team’s poor form domestically.

“We can’t use playing in the Champions League as an excuse because there are other teams in the Premier League doing exactly the same as us who are winning games,” Sterling told the Liverpool Echo.

“The games are coming thick and fast but that’s what we want – to be competing at the top end of the Premier League and in the Champions League.

“What it means now is that after the second recovery day after a game we’re straight back into another game. That’s the way it’s going to be this season and that’s something we need to get used to.

Liverpool have badly missed star striker Daniel Sturridge, who sustained a thigh injury while on international duty with England earlier this month.

Sturridge is expected to return to the squad for Saturday’s crucial Merseyside derby against Everton – and Sterling cannot wait to line-up alongside the former Chelsea man again.

“Daniel is a massive miss for us with his goals and the way he plays in behind defenders,” added Sterling. “Him coming back should add another dimension to the team.”

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