Raheem Sterling
Sterling has scored seven goals in his 14 appearances since the defeat at Manchester United.Getty Images

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling says his performance in defeat to Manchester United in December helped inspire his recent run of form.

Sterling had not scored for three months before travelling to Old Trafford where he missed several opportunities as David de Gea's heroics inspired Louis van Gaal's side to a 3-0 win.

Since the harrowing loss, Sterling has scored seven goals in his subsequent 14 appearances, including two in the League Cup win over AFC Bournemouth and in the recent Premier League win at Southampton.

Defeat at United also represents Liverpool's last top flight defeat, with Brendan Rodgers's side's recent run of form seeing them surge to within two points of the coveted Champions League places.

And Sterling says his own and Liverpool's recent form were sparked into action by the events at United two months ago, a result which represents the lowest point of the club's season.

"That day for me against United was massive," the Liverpool youngster said ahead of the Europa League last 32 first leg against Besiktas. "I had a few chances to win us the game and I missed them. I was devastated after.

"Everyone at this football club wanted to win that game. It was a real low.

"I went home and watched the clips over and over again, just to see what I could have done better. I said to myself the next time I get into that position that I should just stay calm.

"When the manager told me I was playing up front in the next game against Bournemouth as well I was really focused. Luckily enough, I got two goals.

"Even in the defeat to United, the manager said that you could see our identity coming back. We started playing with a lot more authority than earlier in the season. We created a lot more chances.

"I'm not saying it had anything to do with me being up front but he did say we were a lot more fluent. After such a disappointing day, it's always nice to hear those things.

"It's nice playing up front because you don't have to do as much defending – I'm only joking! When I was up there I was just happy to do a job for the team."