Saturday, 2 May 2015

Raheem Sterling warned he will stay at Liverpool even if he refuses new deal


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  • Brendan Rodgers: Sterling could miss out on £3.38m in wages 
  • ‘He won’t be going anywhere this summer, even if there’s no deal’ 
  • Manager has backing from owners Fenway for tough stance 
Raheem Sterling warned he will stay at Liverpool even if he refuses new deal
 Liverpool's Raheem Sterling has been repeatedly informed he will not be sold this summer. 
Photograph: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Raheem Sterling could miss out on £3.38m in wages next season after Brendan Rodgers insisted the England international would stay at Liverpool even if he refuses to sign a new contract.

The Liverpool manager has repeatedly stated Sterling will not be sold this summer having rejected a £100,000-a-week, five-year contract. His stance hardened on Friday when he declared Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s owners, would keep the 20-year-old on his £35,000-a-week deal rather than sell to Manchester City or elsewhere should there be no agreement when contract talks resume at the end of the season.

Liverpool began negotiations with Sterling’s representative, Aidy Ward, at the time of October’s win at Queens Park Rangers, the winger’s former club and their opponents at Anfield on Saturday. Rejecting a £65,000-a-week pay rise has cost Sterling in excess of £1m so far (Liverpool did not offer £100,000 a week from the outset) and he will miss out on £3.38m next season should the impasse continue until the summer of 2016. Sterling would then have only 12 months remaining on his contract and be in a stronger position to test Liverpool’s resolve over a transfer.

Clarifying Liverpool’s position for the summer on Sterling, Rodgers said: “We’ve made our position clear from the beginning and the owners are very much supportive of that. Raheem won’t be going anywhere this summer, even if there’s not a deal agreed.”

Sterling claimed in a BBC interview last month that his contract dispute was not about money but the ambition to achieve his career goals at the highest level. That line of argument remains valid with Liverpool likely to fall short in the race for Champions League qualification, as they did in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Capital One Cup this season.

Rodgers countered: “Look, everyone wants to win trophies, everyone wants to play in the big competitions; but it’s also important that you have the opportunity to do that. We’ll just be reinforcing our stance that’s been in place all along – that this is the best club for him at this moment where he’s got the opportunity to play and to fight and be competitive.
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“I think he looks a lot more relaxed now than he has done for a while. He looks comfortable in himself again. We had a couple of good meetings. He came to my house and we had a good chat on a personal level as well. It’s not just about the football side, it’s also about his welfare because he’s still young and he’s been through a lot in the last couple of years.”

Rodgers said it was not uncommon for him to invite a player to his home in an attempt to resolve any problems. “I do it with some when the moment’s right. We had a good chat and it was about making himself comfortable as well. It’s not just football; it’s parenting as well, helping him and making sure everything is all right outside of his football.”

Sterling’s form has dipped markedly in recent weeks but Rodgers attributes that to the team’s failings rather than a byproduct of the contract controversy.

The manager said: “We’re very much a team so when it functions it’s set up for everyone to work well and play well. But the thing I love about Raheem is whether he’s playing good, bad or indifferent he’s on the training field every day, he works his socks off, he wants to learn and when he goes on to the field he gives everything.”

Rodgers confirmed the club had held discussions over new contracts for Brad Jones and Kolo Touré, who are free agents this summer. He added Liverpool will have no qualms over providing Chelsea with a guard of honour at Stamford Bridge next Sunday should José Mourinho’s team win the title on Sunday.

“Absolutely we would,” he said. “This club is built on dignity, respect and class. So whoever is the champions and wherever it is that’s what you do.”
The Guardian

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