Sterling taking things step by step

Andover Advertiser: Raheem Sterling was Liverpool's key man in their latest victory Raheem Sterling was Liverpool's key man in their latest victory

Raheem Sterling insists Liverpool will not allow themselves to be distracted by any mind games aimed at derailing their Barclays Premier League bid ahead of next weekend's crunch showdown with Chelsea at Anfield.

The Reds took full advantage of a shock home defeat for Jose Mourinho's side by Sunderland on Saturday when they battled to a 3-2 win at relegation-threatened Norwich on Easter Sunday.

Liverpool are now five points clear and are odds-on to claim a first championship since 1990 as they now prepare to host Chelsea.

Blues assistant coach Rui Faria was sent to the stands for trying to confront the officials following the award of a controversial late Sunderland penalty in the unexpected weekend loss at Stamford Bridge, and afterwards Mourinho sarcastically hailed referee Mike Dean and referees' boss Mike Riley for "unbelievable" performances.

England forward Sterling - who scored a brace at Carrow Road, including a fine 25-yard strike to set the Reds on their way inside four minutes - says everyone at the Merseyside club will just focus on what is happening there rather than allow any outside influence to destabilise the group.

"We are just taking it step by step. We know what a big part of the season it is for us now, but we will just go into the Chelsea game as we have done at Norwich and look to build on what we have done (before). We will go again next week," he said.

"We will just take it as another game. We won't be concentrating too much on what is going on in the outside. We are just trying to take care of what is going on (for us) out on the pitch and will be trying to do our best to get three points."

Sterling added: "The way we have been playing this season, we don't need to get excited. We just need to go again, so that is all we will keep doing right until the end and hopefully we can do the business."

The England World Cup hopeful helped lead the Liverpool attack, which was without injured forward Daniel Sturridge, in impressive fashion right from kick-off.

Sterling set up Luis Suarez on 10 minutes as the Uruguay hitman swept home the 30th goal of his superb season, before later restoring Liverpool's two-goal advantage with a determined run and deflected finish.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed the 19-year-old as "arguably the best young player in European football at the moment", with the forward last week shortlisted for the upcoming PFA awards.

"I knew there was a lot more to come from me with confidence, and the confidence right now is sky high, so we just need to keep building," Sterling said.

"The manager has had belief in me, played me in different positions and had faith in me during a big chance (for us) in the season.

"I am just glad I could get a goal for him and the team."

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