Rodgers hopes Sterling meeting will sort future
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is hoping a heart-to-heart with Raheem Sterling will convince the England winger to commit his future to Anfield.
Sterling was invited to Rodgers's home on Merseyside where he was told that he will not be sold this summer, regardless of whether he signs a new contract.
Rodgers has also offered him advice following the controversies in which Sterling was photographed smoking a shisha pipe and inhaling laughing gas.
The Liverpool manager hopes the personal relationship they have struck up will resolve lingering issues.
"He looks a lot more relaxed now than he has done for a while," Rodgers said. "He looks comfortable in himself again. We had a couple of good meetings. He came to my house and had a good chat on a personal level as well. It's not just about the football side, it's also about his welfare because he's still young and he's been through a lot in the last couple of years. So I talked to him generically and I think he's in a good place at the moment.
"We had a good chat and it was about making himself comfortable. It's parenting, helping him and making sure everything is all right outside of his football. Raheem won't be going anywhere this summer, even if there's not a deal agreed."
Sterling has lost about £1.5million in earnings by refusing to sign a £100,000-a-week deal earlier in the season, and would lose almost £3.5m if he stayed on his current £35,000-a-week contract for the next 12 months.
"We've made that clear from the beginning - and the owners are very much supportive of that - and the club will meet up again with Raheem's representatives and reinforce it," Rodgers said. "This is the best club for him at this moment.
"He's got the opportunity to play and to fight and be competitive. Everyone wants to win trophies, everyone wants to play in the big competitions, but it's also important you have the opportunity to do that."
Sterling's form has dipped recently, but the creative elements of the team have hardly been helped by the lack of finishing power.
"That's probably a collective thing," Rodgers said. "We're very much a team.
"But the thing I love about Raheem is whether he's playing good, bad or indifferent he's on the training field every day, he works his socks off, he wants to learn and when he goes on to the field he gives everything.
"As a manager, you can't ask for any more than that. Naturally, players will dip, and especially young players, but he's always given his best and I've got no complaints."
Liverpool, meanwhile, have opened contract talks with back-up goalkeeper Brad Jones. The 33-year-old's stay may be extended despite his unconvincing performances throughout his time at Anfield.
"Brad is in his last year but there's nothing resolved," Rodgers said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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