Liverpool won’t bow down over Sterling contract, says Rodgers

Manager says forward has been offered an ‘incredible deal’ for a young player

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling:   is under contract at Anfield until 2017 and has yet to sign a new deal despite negotiations opening in October. Peter Byrne/PA

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling: is under contract at Anfield until 2017 and has yet to sign a new deal despite negotiations opening in October. Peter Byrne/PA

 

Brendan Rodgers has warned Raheem Sterling’s advisors that Liverpool will not be held to ransom over a new contract and fears an excessive salary could jeopardise the player’s future.

The Liverpool manager claimed Sterling, who should figure in tonight’s Premier League meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, has been offered “an incredible deal” for a 20-year-old, one that rewards his development into the team’s finest player this season, and gave the clearest illustration so far that the protracted contract saga stems from a failure to agree terms with the forward’s agent, Aidy Ward.

 

Complicated

Ward is currently in the process of leaving Impact Sports Management to start his own company but, while that has complicated finalising a deal, Rodgers stressed Liverpool will not bow to the demands of any player.

 

Sterling is under contract at Anfield until 2017 and has yet to sign a new deal despite negotiations opening in October. The club captain, Steven Gerrard, last week urged Liverpool to agree terms with both Sterling and Jordan Henderson “before it is too late”, with the latter’s current deal due to expire in 2016.

Rodgers said: “Steven is relaying a message that the club obviously wants as well. Both players are very, very important for the future and the club recognise that and I only hope as the manager that it will be resolved very soon.

“What the club has offered [Sterling] is an incredible deal for a young player. I have spoken to Raheem a number of times. He is very happy here and you see that in his game. What he has been granted at this football club is an opportunity. We see that with lots of young players they are getting the opportunity to play here and they get rewarded for that.

“But we are certainly not a club that is going to give out way, way above what a player is worth at a certain time of his career. It is not a case of giving any player – and I am talking generally here rather than just Raheem – what they want.

“We want to reward our best talents, they are a big part of our future and we are confident that it will all be handled and resolved soon.”

As was the case before Sterling signed his current five-year deal in 2012, and applies to all youngsters at the club, the Liverpool manager believes there must be incentive for a player to develop in his contract.

“In general, and not just about Raheem, it is very important that young players have something to strive for,” Rodgers said. “If they get too much too young then it can really sabotage their development. That is obviously the job of the football club and why we communicate a lot with the players and their advisors. If they are given sound advice they will see that because it is about mapping out the career of a young player, it is not just this deal.

“In Raheem’s case he has been outstanding since we put him in the team but we mustn’t forget this was a 17-year-old boy who was given an opportunity at Liverpool. In the two-and -a-half years since he has been introduced into the squad he has been fantastic but he still has a long way to go.

“He still has bit to do in his development and we believe this will be the best place for him and I believe he knows that as well. It is important that you reward, and for him his value and worth is very important for us, but also that you leave something for them to progress onto the next level.”

 

Backing Sturridge

The Liverpool manager has also backed Daniel Sturridge to maintain his England place, despite competition from Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who he will face tonight at Anfield.

 

“I’m sure Daniel is happy there’s another English striker coming through,” said Rodgers. “If Harry Kane is going to be of the level to play for England, which I believe he is, then that helps Daniel and the other Liverpool players who play for England because it means you get another top quality striker.

“But for me there’s not anyone better than Daniel Sturridge. There’s no one better.”

Meanwhile, Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has a full squad to choose from for his side’s visit to Anfield.

Nacer Chadli could be recalled to the starting line-up after being eased back slowly following a family bereavement last month, but Pochettino has no injury concerns ahead of the game.

Liverpool will be without Lucas Leiva due to a thigh injury.

Spurs recorded a 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Saturday but have lost all of their last four encounters against Liverpool, conceding 15 goals in the process.

Guardian Service

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.