Wednesday 8 July 2015

Want-away Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling wants to be left out of pre-season tour

Raheem Sterling has left Brendan Rodgers in no doubt over his determination to push for a transfer to Manchester City by informing the Liverpool manager he wants to be left out of the pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia.

The England forward has held talks with the Liverpool manager since returning to training on Monday. It is understood he not only reiterated his desire to leave this summer but asked to be omitted from the two-week trip to Thailand, Australia and Malaysia.

Liverpool’s squad depart for Bangkok on Sunday and are not due back on Merseyside until Saturday 25 July.

Sterling’s hardline stance further demonstrates the breakdown in relations since the 20-year-old rejected a £100,000-a-week contract extension last season. It also opens the way for City to make a third offer for the winger, who is under contract at Liverpool until 2017 on a £35,000-a-week deal.

Liverpool have not had contact with City since their second bid was rejected last month, although a fresh approach is expected soon.

City have had two bids rejected by Liverpool, a £25m offer rising to £30m plus a £35m rising to £40m package. The Anfield club value the player at £50m and would want the bulk of the money up front. Queens Park Rangers, his former club, are due 20% of any sell-on fee.

Whether Liverpool accede to Sterling’s request to be left out depends on an acceptable offer arriving from City before Sunday rather than the player’s wishes.

Rodgers expects Sterling to travel and play if selected for their first friendly, in Bangkok on Tuesday, should the situation remain. Luis Suárez teamed up with Liverpool on their pre-season tour of Australia in 2013 while agitating for a move to Arsenal.

Despite their current stance, Liverpool are considering alternatives should the England forward eventually complete a move to the Etihad Stadium. The Barcelona winger Pedro is a possible target despite only recently signing a four-year contract with the European champions.

Denis Cheryshev, the Real Madrid winger who spent last season on loan at Villarreal, is another option that appeals to the Liverpool manager.

Rodgers also hopes to add the Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke to his squad before the start of the campaign, irrespective of whether Sterling stays or goes.

Credit: Guardian Sport 

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