Raheem Sterling's 'mobile number' posted online after winger calls in sick for Liverpool training
Raheem Sterling has failed to turn up to Liverpool training today as his pursuit of a move to Manchester City intensifies.
The development comes following reports that the unsettled England international requested not to participate in the club's pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia.
Liverpool began pre-season training this week but it is believed Sterling telephoned on Wednesday morning to say that he was unwell. The club have not commented on the situation.
Sterling, 20, has been the subject of two failed bids from Manchester City this summer, believed to have been worth up to £30million and £40million. The player, who has two years remaining on his contract at Anfield, rejected an offer of a new £100,000-per-week deal earlier this year.
It is understood that Sterling spoke to manager Brendan Rodgers this week and informed him that he did not want to travel on the pre-season tour. Rodgers and his squad are due to fly out on Sunday ahead of their first friendly against a Thai All Stars side in Bangkok next Tuesday.
Since reports of Sterling's tour request emerged, a mobile phone number purportedly of the player's has been posted online with disgruntled fans encouraged to use it to send abusive messages. The club have not commented on whether the number is genuine.
The Sterling saga is becoming increasingly acrimonious with the player seemingly intent on forcing through a move. City have maintained a silence on the issue but it is claimed they could be preparing another bid of around £50million.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes the way the whole affair is playing out could be causing long-lasting damage to Sterling's standing.
"He's starting to get a reputation that could be hard to rid himself of in the future," Carragher wrote on www.kicca.com.
"Are Man City fans looking at the situation and thinking this could be us in a few years?
"I think this situation will only make Liverpool more determined to get the fee they feel Raheem is worth rather than caving in to Raheem's and Man City's wishes."