Raheem Sterling is prepared to put in the hard graft in order to once again force his way into the Liverpool starting XI after being relegated to the bench in recent weeks.

It has been a sensational breakthrough season for the teenager whose rave reviews for his early season performances led to him winning his first cap for England at the tender age of just 17.

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling has lost his place in the Liverpool side but is working hard to constantly improve his game. [Reuters]

Sterling has made the third highest number of appearances for Liverpool this season, behind just Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, but has found it harder to force his way into the side since the arrival of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.

These new found options for Brendan Rodgers have led to Sterling starting the last five Premier League games on the bench, but he understands the situation and hopes to make a significant impact when handed the opportunity to impress.

"I've had to do quite a bit of growing up, to keep my head down, and I understand completely I haven't made it yet - as a young player you've just got to keep working hard all the time," Sterling told The Mirror.

"I understand the situation, and hopefully I can get on the bench and then make an impact coming off the bench. That is the way to keep progressing, to try and get a chance and then to take it.

"I don't feel an added pressure. I can't try and overdo it. I've got to play my normal game and hopefully that will work out."

At just 18-years-old, and with a slight build, the sheer physicality of regular first team football must have taken some effect on Sterling's body. His continued work, both in the gym and on the training ground, demonstrates his desire to keep improving and he admits it is a dream come true to simply pull on the Liverpool shirt.

"I've been in the gym a few times a week. Size isn't an issue as long as you can hold your own on the pitch, but I am working hard to improve all the time," added the former QPR youth team player.

"I want to work on my long-distance shooting and my decision making. I want to make the first team grade, because I think everyone who plays for Liverpool has to pinch themselves now and again.

"It's a dream come true for all the players. You've got to realise that it's real, kick on with it, work hard and try to do your best for the football club."

Clearly Rodgers believes that Sterling is far from blown out already this season as the winger was handed a start in the Under-21 Premier League against Manchester United on Monday evening.

He was unable to stop Liverpool from falling to a 1-0 defeat but it is another sign that Sterling simply wants to play and will be hoping for more chances to prove his worth in the first team as the Reds push for a top six finish.