RAHEEM STERLING has been told that his best opportunity to develop into a first-rate Premier League player is to remain at Liverpool.
The 18-year-old and his representatives are locked in talks with the club over the signing of a new contract.
Sterling has shot to prominence this season, becoming a regular fixture in Liverpool side and winning a first international call-up in England’s friendly with Sweden last month. With the winger’s current deal at Anfield expiring in 2014, manager Brendan Rodgers has been keen to resolve Sterling’s future as soon as possible; but as it stands, discussions are on-going.
Rumours continue to circulate that a host of other top flight clubs are ready to make moves if talks ultimately stall between the player and Liverpool, though Rodgers has maintained his confidence that Sterling will remain at Anfield.
Rodgers is also hoping to bring Blackpool’s Thomas Ince and Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea, to the club on permanent deals next month.
Signed as a 15-year-old by Rafael Benitez, Sterling soon made his impact in the under-18 and reserve set-ups at the club and his progress was rewarded when he was included in the travelling party for a Europa League tie against Sparta Prague last year.
The following season, manager Kenny Dalglish handed him his first appearance for the Liverpool first-team, when he came on as a late substitute in the home defeat to Wigan.
And Sterling’s progression to a senior professional was complete in August when Rodgers selected him to start against Hearts in August.
Since the breakthrough, the Jamaican-born player has started 15 league games this season, including against Reading where he scored the only goal of the match.