Brendan Rodgers insists it was an 'easy decision' to hand Raheem Sterling his first Premier League start against Manchester City, but says there is still a long way to go for the teenager to become a Liverpool regular.
Sterling replaced Stewart Downing on the left wing for Sunday's visit of the reigning champions and he justified Rodgers' faith with an impressive performance.
The 17-year-old has caught Rodgers' eye since the Northern Irishman was appointed Liverpool boss and has been challenged to deliver the goods on a consistent basis.
Rodgers said: "It was an easy decision. I said when I first came in, I wouldn't judge people on their status, on what they are or what they have done, but on what I see in front of me.
"He is a young player who has just improved every single day since I came in here.
"He was a player that played on his own in the one v ones.
"And you look at him fighting for the team, his tactical understanding playing a really experienced player - he was blocking the lines of the pass, he was pressing at the right time, he was coming back to block the lines inside.
"For a 17-year-old playing against the champions, I thought his performance was fantastic but he has a long way to go because you have got to be consistent and that is something I'll have to keep a close eye on."
Defender Jose Enrique, who came on as a second-half substitute, was also impressed by Sterling's display, which came after he was given 90 minutes in last Thursday's Europa League qualifier against Hearts.
The Spaniard said: "I think he did well the last two games for us and he worked really hard in pre-season.
"I don't have to tell you, everyone knows the qualities he has. He is amazing, one v one he is amazing. He has everything but we have to be quiet with him.
"He is still young, 17 years old. There are too many things to do yet but if he continues like this and listens to us, and of course to more from the manager, he can learn a lot, he has the qualities."