Liverpool boss Rodgers explains withdrawing Sterling from frontline
Sterling featured for the U21s in defeat to Manchester United this week.
"This is a kid we're talking about, so we have to take a wee step back," Rodgers said.
"What he's done since he stepped on to the pitch against Bayer Leverkusen in a friendly - I dare you to look around Europe and tell me a 17-year-old who has made 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 football and earned a contract.
"We have to nurture that and at times he's got to have a mentality to keep learning.
"What you're seeing now is more tiredness of the legs when before he could go up to people and take them on. That zip has gone and that's down to fatigue. He will have experienced that before, but not in the limelight. He's made such an impact that everyone is looking at him now, of course. He's started his career at first-team level way before many get the opportunity."