Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling’s dip in form was to be expected.
The 18-year old winger has been dropped to the U21s after starting on 16 occasions this season but Rodgers insists it is only to give him a break from the hectic pace of the Premier League.
"This is a kid we're talking about so we have to take a wee step back," said the Reds boss.
"What he's done since he stepped onto the pitch against Bayer Leverkusen in a friendly to Manchester City (for his league debut) as a 17-year-old, I dare you to look around Europe and tell me a 17-year-old who has made such an impact in one of the big leagues. There aren't many.
"It is so mentally and physically draining this league. It hurts experienced professionals and this boy has just stepped up from the Academy and played first-team football and earned a contract off that. We have to nurture that and at times he's got to have that mentality to keep learning."
“That zip has gone and that's down to fatigue. Was that to be expected? Yes it was.”