Now in charge of Dalian Yifang, Benitez recalled signing Sterling as a 15 year-old from QPR.
Sterling was subsequently sold to Manchester City for £49million in July 2015 and speaking to The Times , Benitez said: "I credit my scouts and [former Liverpool academy director] Frank McParland. They convinced me to sign the boy.
“I gave him a tour around the training ground. Fernando Torres was there, Sterling's mother was there.
“You could see someone who loved football, who was excited."