Friday 19 January 2018

Brendan Rodgers insists he did not fall out with Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling shakes hands with manager Brendan Rodgers
Raheem Sterling shakes hands with manager Brendan Rodgers

Chris Bascombe

Brendan Rodgers has rejected claims a breakdown in his relationship with Raheem Sterling contributed to the winger’s £49 million transfer to Manchester City.

Rodgers confirmed Sterling’s exit – subject to a medical – but speaking on arrival in Bangkok at the start of the club’s summer tour, he bristled when it was suggested he’d fallen out with the 20-year-old.

“Contrary to the last week - in terms of what was written – Raheem and I have always been very strong in our relationship and have been until he left so there is no issue there,” said Rodgers.

“The situation is simple the club has agreed with another club a deal for Raheem to be transferred and subject to medical that will go through.

“I spoke to Raheem at length before I left yesterday so there is no problem.”

Read more: Raheem Sterling lands £10m-a-year pay deal with Manchester City slickers

Read more: 'Go kill yourself' - Teenage Man United fan threatened by Liverpool supporters who thought they were texting Raheem Sterling

Rodgers said he hoped new signing, Brazilian Roberto Firmino, would help fill the void left by Sterling. “He is a top class player,” said Rodgers.

“He will come into the Premier League and it takes a bit of time to adapt, but he has all the traits and profile. He works hard and is a talented player who scores goals.

“It was important for us to improve and build the squad for this coming season and we are pleased with the players we have brought in. The key for us is the overall team that is important and individuals like Raheem benefited from the team. We aim to be stronger and much more competitive than last season and that will rely on everyone. The camp has been strong in the first week and we hope to continue that at the start of the season.”

Rodgers said the summer changes to his backroom team were his decision rather than forced on him.

“I decided to make a change in the staff,” he said.

“I had two fantastic guys in Colin and Mike, great professionals, who were very good and supportive but I felt the need to move in a different direction. It was a decision purely made by myself.

“I’ve know Sean (O’Driscoll) a long time and played against his teams. He is someone I respect and admire. I felt coming into my fourth season I wanted to take the team in a different direction. Sean, Pep (Lijnders) and Gary McAllister will assist me moving us in that direction.”

Read more: Liverpool transfer news: Real Madrid winger to replace Raheem Sterling at Anfield

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