LIVERPOOL FC have yet to make a formal new contract offer to teenage sensation Raheem Sterling.
Sterling has made a major impact since being handed his full first-team Premier League debut by Brendan Rodgers in August against champions Manchester City.
The flying winger has become a mainstay in the starting line-up and his rapid rise continued earlier this month with a first England cap in the friendly defeat in Sweden.
Liverpool manager Rodgers has repeatedly stated his confidence Sterling will sign a vastly-improved new deal when he reaches his 18th birthday on December 8.
But it has emerged Liverpool have not yet tabled a firm offer for the youngster, who has 18 months on his first professional contract still to run.
That is certain to alarm supporters, with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur among several leading clubs monitoring developments.
There have been suggestions Sterling’s representatives believe their player is worthy of a higher wage than the usual rate for a youngster his age because of the huge progress made in such a short period of time.
And a club source for Liverpool said: “Negotiations continue to be constructive but we are not prepared to go into any specifics and we do not think this is best served through the media.”
Meanwhile, Martin Skrtel is convinced Liverpool will be stronger in the second half of the season as Rodgers’ methods begin to take hold.
Rodgers this week reaches the six-month mark of his reign having replaced Kenny Dalglish as Anfield manager on May 31.
Under the Northern Irishman, Liverpool have struggled to find a consistent winning formula and have spent the first third of the campaign languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League.
Rodgers is keen to impose a particular philosophy on his players, most notably a heavy reliance on playing the ball out of defence and through midfield.
But after some initial struggles and a failure to convert good performances into victories, Skrtel believes the penny is finally beginning to drop among the squad.
“We are definitely understanding the methods more now because we have been working together for four months,” said the Slovakian centre-back.
“Things are better on the pitch than they were before and I think it will be better and better as we play more games.
“There were a few games early on where our performances were good but we didn’t get the three points, like against Stoke, Newcastle and Everton. We did well and created chances but we just couldn’t get the three points.”
Liverpool remain significantly adrift of the Champions League qualification berths that Rodgers this week admitted would make it much easier to attract leading players to the club.
Skrtel, though, is convinced Rodgers’ side are now demonstrating the consistency they can soon be knocking on the door of the top four.
“I still believe we can get into the top four because there isn’t a big gap between those places and where we are now,” says the defender.
“There are plenty of games to go and I think that if we play like we did against Wigan then that is a realistic target.
“The expectations when you are at Liverpool are always high and that’s still the same. As I said, all we are doing is going from game to game and trying to get as many points as we can and hopefully at the end of the season we can be in the top four.”