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Award winner Sterling booed

Published 19/05/2015

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling was booed by fans at the club's end-of-season award ceremony.
Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling was booed by fans at the club's end-of-season award ceremony.

Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling was booed by fans at the club's end-of-season award ceremony.

The 20-year-old rejected a new contract from the Reds back in January and reports emerged on Monday - subsequently played down by his agent Aidy Ward - that he will tell the club this week he will not sign another deal.

Sterling, who earlier been presented to the crowd alongside fans' favourite Philippe Coutinho, picked up Young Player of the Year award.

However, as he made a short acceptance speech there were shouts of 'Stay Raheem' and as he finished speaking and left the stage there were audible boos from some of the 3,000 fans assembled at the rear of the Echo Arena in the city.

When his name was mentioned in a video montage moments later there were more jeers.

Sterling has two years left on his current deal but rejected a reported £100,000-a-week offer earlier this year and negotiations were put on hold until the end of the season.

Suggestions he will now not agree to a new deal have generally been viewed as another public relations disaster by Sterling's camp, after a pre-arranged television interview in April in which the youngster claimed he was not a "money-grabber".

A dip in performance this season has not helped him, while the row over whether he was too tired to play in a Euro 2016 qualifier back in October soured his relationship with England fans also.

And regular links with the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Bayern Munich have led to accusations his head has been turned.

However, Ward, the 20-year-old's long-time representative, said he and the player were always scheduled to meet Reds officials this week and insists they will move forward from there.

"The story has been blown somewhat out of proportion," he said in a statement to talkSPORT.

"Raheem and his representatives have a meeting scheduled with Liverpool later this week, and we will take proceedings from there."

Manager Brendan Rodgers, presenting the goal of the season award to Philippe Coutinho for his strike against Southampton, believes his side will be better for their difficulties on the pitch.

"Expectancy from last season was going to be high (after finishing second). Things that have happened, the distractions, you can't plan for them," he said.

"It has been a difficult, trying season but the players will all be better for it next year.

"The players need a rest [but] the club will continue to work hard to improve the squad and next year provides another great opportunity for us like last season."

Coutinho swept the board at the awards, winning player of the season, players' player, individual performance of the year and goal of the season.

Departing captain Steven Gerrard, who ends a 17-year professional career on Sunday at Stoke before leaving for Los Angeles Galaxy, was given the Outstanding Achievement Award.

"I think people are trying to get me to cry before I leave the amount of speeches I've had to do," said the 34-year-old.

"I have been so fortunate to play with some incredible footballers who have helped me receive the likes of these awards.

"To be honest I am a little bit bored speaking about myself so I want to pay tribute to Philippe, it's his night tonight. He cleaned up on all the awards and deservedly so.

"He is the next big thing for me, I hope he stays here for a long time and helps us win some more trophies."

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