The news breaking out of all sports news desks and social media last night was not of the newly crowned champions of the Barclay's Premier League, Chelsea capitulating against West Bromwich Albion last night, but of the ongoing and increasingly fractious relationship between Raheem Sterling and Liverpool.
It's been reported that Sterling will ask to leave the club on Friday in crunch talks with the Liverpool hierarchy and Brendan Rodgers. We take a look at whether Liverpool actually need him and if they actually want him after his off-the-field antics.
Should Sterling stay after this latest development?
It is highly embarrassing for any player to be dominating the back pages of the newspapers, especially for all the wrong reasons. The fact that Sterling is being portrayed in all forms of media as a money grabbing, arrogant 20-year-old who sees himself above other Liverpool players again won't help. Speaking on Sky Sports, Carragher said: "Just keep your mouth shut and get on with playing football."
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￼This season has been very tough on Liverpool fans, with the loss of Luis Suarez, the long departure of Steven Gerrard that reached its most climatic point on Saturday evening with his final game at Anfield, the dismal Premier League and Champions League performances coupled with a humiliating exit in the FA Cup Semi-Final to Aston Villa. Sterling's attitude and behaviour towards the club that has made him a household name has been nothing short of abysmal and insulting to the Liverpool fans.
The fact is that Sterling, despite being a prestigious talent, wouldn't be missed too much by the Liverpool faithful. Liverpool fans want players who believe in the club as much as they do. That is why players such as Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Emre Can and Lucas have such high regard with Liverpool fans as they give everything to the cause without complaining and do all their talking on the football pitch.
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Sterling started burning bridges quickly with the fans when he publicly confirmed he had rejected a new contract of £100,000 a week. This is after he has been allowed to go on holiday as he was 'tired' after Christmas and Brendan Rodgers sanctioned a holiday in Jamaica to refresh him. Liverpool have done everything to make him feel wanted and yet he has thrown it back in their faces.
Therefore, when last nights news broke, most Liverpool fans treated it with the apathy it deserved. No player is bigger than the club and Liverpool have always come back when their stars have left. Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Fernando Torres are to name but a few when it seemed all was lost with Liverpool.
Sterling is not seen to be as one of those types of players that held in such high regard. He is seen as a incredibly talented player who needs to develop himself further before being seen as Liverpool great. Lets not forget that Sterling was a much derided figure at the beginning of Liverpool's 2013/2014 season. Since then, his stock has risen and risen but he is not the finished article and only he seems to think otherwise.
If Sterling goes, who would take him?
Sterling has a lot to consider at the moment but his profile is not highly regarded in Europe as it is in England. It is most likely he will go to another Premier League club, with Arsenal and Manchester City looking the most likely destinations. If Sterling does leave, he won't get nearly as much playing time or respect that he would get at Liverpool.
Manchester City is dangerous place for young English talent to go as they can end up becoming disillusioned there as Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair found out the hard way. Arsenal may not want him if Theo Walcott's contract situation is resolved which would leave Sterling with a stark choice.
Liverpool itself don't need him. They would be doing a lot better if they sold him for a good price and brought in players that actually wanted to be there. There is going to be a lot of change at Liverpool over the Summer and they need to get it right. Sterling leaving might be a blessing in disguise as having a member of a team that is causing a distraction within the dressing room or in training can have effects on other members of the squad.
How would Liverpool cope without Sterling? Comment below!
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