Quick as lighting.
If Raheem Sterling meets his high potential, Liverpool will have exactly what they need. Sterling can play on either wing, helping fill the largest team need at the club right now. Sterling is an attacking sparklplug that simply makes things happen, whether that's by scoring, passing, or gracefully dribbling by defenders. Perhaps most importantly, Sterling is English, helping Liverpool more easily conform to stricter FA nationality guidelines in the future. With those qualities, it would seem that young Raheem is ready to become more consistently utilized by Brendan Rodgers next season.
Pretty much the only thing holding Sterling back at this point is the fact that he is only 17. Will Brendan Rodgers have the guts to play someone so young over more established players? King Kenny certainly didn't as Sterling only made a few cameo appearances late in games toward the end of the season. It seems like the decision will be based upon both preseason friendlies and Europa League games against teams we've never heard of, surely not the right type of competition to make a good judgement on whether or not he can handle the EPL.
As the roster stands right now, Sterling has the talent to be a starter on the right wing. In fact, Rodgers could decide to slowly build up Sterling's workload by using Craig Bellamy as an early second half substitute. Once Sterling shows that he can handle the rigors of playing deeper into a Premier League match, then Rodgers could start using Bellamy as a later substitute for Sterling or as a sub for one of the forwards.
If given a fair opportunity, Sterling has a chance to become an exception player. Even if he doesn't live up to the mile high expectations, I envision him as a Solomon Kalou type player (which isn't bad at all). If Rodgers wants to keep his job long-term and turn the ship around, some risks will have to be taken. How on earth will starting Maxi help us in the future?