LONDON: Brendan Rodgers has dismissed the rumours that Raheem Sterling will leave Liverpool, and insisted that the England winger will not be distracted by increasing speculation over his future at Anfield.
Sterling is likely to be handed a lone striker role for a second successive game in the Capital One Cup quarter-final at Bournemouth Wednesday night due to Mario Balotelli’s recurrence of a groin injury, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The England international goes into the tie at Goldsands Stadium with reports in Germany suggesting that the 20-year-old has emerged as a summer target for Bayern Munich.
With the youngster understood to be unhappy with Liverpool’s offer of a £70,000-a-week pay deal to replace his £30,000-a-week package, which still has two and half years left to run.
After the 0-3 defeat against Manchester United Sunday, when he missed a series of clear chances to score, Sterling has been urged by the former United and Everton defender Phil Neville to “sit down with his agent and say, ‘you do your job on the contract, I’ll do my job on the field’", amid concerns that the player has allowed his off-field situation to affect his performances.
But Rodgers has dismissed fears that Sterling’s form has suffered by claiming that he is now the player most likely to be the catalyst for Liverpool’s long-awaited revival.
"I think Raheem has been brilliant. The kid played in a front role for me at (against) Manchester United as a striker. He might not have been able to get a goal at the weekend but he was absolutely outstanding,” Rodgers said.
"I don’t think there’s anything affecting him. He is the type of boy who leaves his representatives to work with the club in order to hopefully organise the deal. He has no real influence in that. I’ll never be surprised (that) teams are linked with Raheem because he’s such a big talent. I’m quite relaxed about it.”