Belfast Telegraph

Pool get tough on Sterling

By Tim Rich

Liverpool are prepared to allow Raheem Sterling's contract to run down rather than sell him in the summer.

With the club's bid to re-qualify for the Champions League almost certain to end in failure, it had been thought Sterling would use this as a trigger to demand a move - with Arsenal or Manchester City the likeliest destination.

Sterling said in an interview that he wanted to be at a club where he had the best chance of winning trophies. The England forward has already rejected Liverpool's offer of a £100,000-a-week deal, with his agent, Aidy Ward, confident he could negotiate half as much again with another club.

However, Brendan Rodgers, who invited the 20-year-old striker to his house in the wake of a video showing Sterling inhaling laughing gas, said yesterday that there would now be no immediate way out of Anfield for him.

"Raheem will not be going anywhere in the summer even if there is no deal agreed," said the Liverpool manager, who said he invited players to his home "when the moment is right".

He added: "He came to the house and we had a good chat on a personal level as well. It is not just about the football side, it is about his welfare because he is still young and he's been through a lot in the last couple of years. I think he is in a good place at the moment.

"Everyone wants to win trophies, everyone wants to play in the big competitions, but it is also important that you have the opportunity to do that. This club is the best place for him, where he has the opportunity to play."

Liverpool's stance had always been that they would not increase their offer to Sterling and that, if he did leave, Rodgers' squad was strong enough to withstand the loss.

Now, however, the club seem intent on ensuring he leads their attack next season, even if it means that he can start negotiating with foreign clubs from January 2017.

Belfast Telegraph


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