Contract negotiations are set to resume between Liverpool and contract rebel Raheem Sterling once the season is over, but Reds legend Phil Thompson believes that following Sunday’s result at Stamford Bridge, there isn’t anything left to talk about.
Despite battling to a draw with the newly crowned champions, Liverpool’s slender hopes of qualifying for next seasons Champions League went down the drain. “I think it will be very difficult for him to stay at Liverpool now. He’s shown all the signs that he’s ready and prepared to leave the club,” he told Sky Sports. “But if he was to stay I would like to think his role will be on the flanks – I don’t think Liverpool can even contemplate him being their main striker next season, because he’s not a natural goalscorer.”
In a far reaching interview with the BBC earlier in the season, Sterling revealed that he’s already turned down a lucrative offer from the club that would pay him in the region of £100,000 per-week, saying that he’s more motivated by trophies than money. The failure to secure Champions League football for next year will not only make it hard for the Reds to hang on to the talented 20-year old, but it won’t make it easy for boss Brendan Rodgers to bring in world-class recruits to Anfield either.
One only needs to look to the substitutions made by the two managers on Sunday to see that. “Liverpool had Jerome Sinclair coming off the bench and also Jordon Ibe – who I think can be just as good as Raheem Sterling in that wide role – but it still showed the gulf in quality between the squads,” continued Thompson. “Both of those lads are under 20, yet Chelsea had Gary Cahill, Nemanja Matic and Juan Cuadrado coming on for them – three established internationals. I think part of the substitutions was maybe Brendan saying ‘look, this is all I’ve got to work with here’, although it is nice to have youngsters coming through the ranks at the club again.”