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rodgers not panicking yet

LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers is confident that the Anfield money-men will be able to stitch together a deal which will keep Raheem Sterling on Merseyside for the foreseeable future.

Almost every new day brings a new problem for Rodgers and Sterling's future is rapidly becoming the next big hurdle he has to overcome.

The fear among Liverpool supporters is that Sterling will follow the same path as Luis Suarez and leave for a better contract in Madrid or Munich.

"Hopefully it is not going to be the case. We are trying to build something here," said Rodgers.

"We were on a path for a couple of years and we have had to come off that path since the summer having lost some players and have had to regroup.

"He is a real talisman for this team. He has been a great example of the progress that a lot of the players have made here.

"He has gone from a youth team player to one of the top young players in European football.

"The club, I am sure, will work very hard (on his contract) and Raheem is happy here, he loves being a Liverpool player. I am sure between them and the representatives we can get a deal done which will see him go on to continue to develop what is an exciting career.

"I will never be surprised teams will be linked with Raheem as he is such a big talent at 20, a wonderful young player, but I am quite relaxed about it."

Sterling found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons at the weekend after missing Liverpool's best chances in the 3-0 defeat at Manchester United.

Rodgers insists the youngster is not being affected by the debate over his future.

"I think Raheem has been brilliant, absolutely outstanding, added Rodgers, ahead of a crucial Capital One Cup quarter-final at SkyBet Championship leaders Bournemouth.

"The kid's played in a front role for me at the weekend - a role he has played before as a youngster - but I don't think it is affecting him one bit.

"Okay he maybe could have got a goal or so but he puts defenders on the back foot, he is intelligent in his game, has running ability, and is getting himself into some wonderful positions.

"The kid has been a real catalyst for us in terms of our attacking threat so I don't think there is anything which has affected him.

"He leaves his representatives to work with the club to hopefully organise the deal for him and he has no real influence in that.

"All I ask him to do is concentrate on playing football and the performances will come and he has shown consistently he has been a real threat."

Rodgers will need that threat against Bournemouth, who scored five against Cardiff at the weekend and have not lost a match since September. "We're in competitions to win trophies, so if we can get the victory against Bournemouth and get through, the aim for us would be to hopefully go on and win the competition," said the Reds boss.

"This is the first cup competition that you can win, so it was always a priority for me."



(KO 7.45)