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Raheem Sterling: Liverpool Player ‘To Tell Club He Wants To Leave’

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LONDON – Raheem Sterling is expected to tell Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers he wants to leave Anfield this summer.
The England forward has already turned down a new £100,000-a-week contract, and denied being a “money-grabber” in a BBC Sport interview last month.

Sterling will meet Reds chief executive Ian Ayre and Rodgers on Friday, when he is set to tell them he wants to go.

The club have declined to comment but it is understood they still want the 20-year-old, whose deal ends in 2017.

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Should he be made available, Manchester City remain the frontrunners for his signature but Arsenal and a number of leading European clubs have also expressed an interest.

While Liverpool insist they will not sell for any price this summer, their resolve may be tested by an offer in the region of £35m.

BBC Sport has learned Sterling raised the subject of his future with Rodgers before the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on 10 May.

Sterling – whose current contract is worth £35,000 a week – said in an interview on 1 April that he “talks about winning trophies” rather than money.

Former Reds defender and BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson said at the time that Sterling had put himself “under pressure” with his comments.

Liverpool’s last piece of silverware came in 2012, when they won the League Cup, and they have missed out on Champions League qualification for next season.

“Liverpool owner John W Henry will not be bounced into a sale, bullied by requests to leave or held to ransom by Sterling and his representative Aidy Ward. Nor should he be.”

Rodgers has previously said: “Liverpool are one of the superpowers of football and if the owners don’t want to sell, they don’t have to.”

Speaking on Friday, captain Steven Gerrard told Sterling to stay and play for a coach who “believes in him”.

“I think there is no-one better for him than Brendan Rodgers,” said Gerrard, who will join MLS side LA Galaxy this summer after 17 years at Anfield.

“The danger for younger players is they want it all too soon and go to another club and just become a number.”

Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton: “Supporters are coming to the end of their tether with Raheem, he still hasn’t learnt.

“The club could take a real stance, but it’s not advisable. The best thing is to let him go and invest the £40m-£50m in players that want to come to the club.”

Ex-Everton midfielder Kevin Kilbane on BBC Radio 5 live: “It shows the changing face of football, it is very much manufactured. I think it lacks a lot of class.

“If Sterling does not want to stay at Liverpool, fair enough, there may be underlying reasons why he does not want to stay.
But surely the negotiations, especially with a lad who has a lot to prove and a long way to go in the game, can be done behind closed doors, in a way that best suits everyone.”

Former Reds defender Jamie Carragher said Sterling is “not some flash young kid”, but added the thought of him “taking on” Liverpool over contract negotiations annoyed him “to the pit of my stomach”.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “Raheem Sterling will obviously move on at some stage, he doesn’t want to be at the club and this looks like a tactic to force the club’s hand. Liverpool had a chance to win a trophy this season in the FA Cup semi-final against Aston Villa – where was Sterling? Trophies don’t get handed out, you’ve got to earn them. You’ve got to deliver in big games and he hasn’t done that yet.”

Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville added: “Liverpool haven’t handled contracts well at all in the past 18 months.” – BBC Sport

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