Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Raheem Sterling that the club will not be held to ransom over excessive wage demands but urged the talented young winger to commit his long-term future to Anfield.
The Northern Irishman was asked about the England international's ongoing contract stand-off in Monday's pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow's Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur.
Reporters questioned Rodgers in light of recent comments made by the soon-to-be-departing Steven Gerrard, after he encouraged the Reds to tie down Sterling and fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson to new deals.
"Steven is relaying a message that the club is obviously wanting as well," the 42-year-old was quoted saying by the Daily Telegraph. "Both players are very, very important for the future and the club recognise that and I only hope as the manager that it will be resolved very soon.
"In the case of Raheem has been offered a wonderful deal for a young player who is still developing. He has made some great strides in these last couple of years and will get rewarded for that.
"Hopefully his representatives can find agreement with the club. I know the player is very happy and wants to continue working in the way he has been.
"I am only saying what I know what the club has offered which is an incredible deal for a young player. I have spoken to Raheem a number of times. He is very happy here and you see that in his game. What he has been granted here at this football club is an opportunity."
He added: "We see that with lots of young players they are getting the opportunity to play here and they get rewarded for that. But we are certainly not a club that is going to give out way way above what a player is worth at a certain time of his career.
"It is not a case of giving any player - and I am talking generally here rather than just Raheem - what they want. We want to reward our best talents, they are a big part of our future and we are confident that will all be hand and resolved soon."
The 20-year-old is yet to reach agreement over a new and improved deal, but with over two years still to run on his current deal Liverpool are certainly in no immediate rush to finalise negotiations.
"In the two and half years since he has been introduced into the squad he has been fantastic but he still has a long way to go," - Brendan Rodgers
"For me in general, not just about Raheem, generically it is very important that young players have something to strive for if they get too much too young then it can really sabotage their development for me.
"That is obviously the job of the football club and why we communicate a lot with the players and their advisors if they have advisors. If they are given sound advice and good advice they will see that because it is about mapping out the career of a young player. It is not just this deal.
"In Raheem's case he has been outstanding since we put him in the team but we must not forget this is a 17-year-old boy who was given an opportunity at Liverpool.
"In the two and half years since he has been introduced into the squad he has been fantastic but he still has a long way to go. He still has bit to do in his development and we believe this will be the best place for him and I believe he knows that as well.
"It is important that you reward and for him his value and worth is very important for us, but also that you leave something for them to progress onto the next level and that is same for all young players not just Raheem."
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