Mark Lawrenson insists Liverpool must replace Raheem Sterling before selling the winger.
Sterling looks set to leave Anfield this summer after rejecting a new £100,000-a-week and has attracted a host of top European clubs.
Manchester United and Manchester City have both had bids rejected for the 20-year-old with the latter offering £30 million, however, Liverpool are holding out for at least £40 million.
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With Brendan Rodgers preparing for life without the man he helped thrust into the spotlight, Lawrenson feels that the Reds should not be held to ransom by Sterling and sell when it suits them.
"If Manchester City are offering the region of £30million as a starting bid, it shows they are serious," the Match Of The Day pundit wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
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"Every player has his price. And as much as Liverpool have previously said Sterling is going nowhere, there’ll be an amount City or some other club will reach that will force the owners to go ‘you know what, that’s okay.’
"Fans will grumble at the prospect of losing Sterling, but if you aren't in the Champions League then there’s every chance your best players will look elsewhere.
"Liverpool also have to make sure they have a big-name signing lined up before they can contemplate letting Sterling go.
"You saw with the Mario Balotelli situation last season of how not to do it.
"With no matches to attend, supporters are desperate for news, preferably good news. But there’ll also be a game of patience being played.
"The transfer window is open until the end of August and the reality is it probably won’t be until late July before we start seeing some of the bigger transfers taking place."
Sterling's contract negotiations largely dominated the last few months of Liverpool's season and it evidently had an effect on both himself and his team-mates.
During the last eight weeks of the campaign, the former Queens Park Rangers man was one of the Reds' worst players and failed to make an impact for the most part.
He played as if something was on his mind and that was confirmed during his effort in England's 0-0 draw against Republic of Ireland. He was by far the poorest player on the pitch, constantly giving the ball away and was the subject of various boos throughout by the Irish crowd.
In the build-up to Steven Gerrard's last game for Liverpool against Stoke City it was not about the 17 year career of a top-class midfielder, but Sterling's future on Merseyside. His presence damaged his team-mates and the Reds were disgracefully beaten 6-1 by the Potters at the Britannia.
Overall, the genuine feeling is that Kopites will not be too bothered if Sterling is sold and will be overjoyed to get a fee in the region of £40 million.
Whilst Lawrenson believes Liverpool have to replace Sterling, Rodgers also has a number of players in his squad already who play a similar role.
Jordan Ibe was superb in the second-half of the year after returning early from his loan spell at Derby County. He looked an even better version of Sterling; quicker, stronger, more intelligent and his overall contribution was much more effective.
Unfortunately, Ibe suffered a knee injury which kept him out for a month, however, he will be a key player next term.
Lazar Markovic's first season at Anfield wasn't the greatest following his £20 million summer move from Benfica. Nonetheless, he was unfairly played as a wing-back and was the whipping boy and dragged off at half-time when things going to play.
Defending is something Markovic has likely never experienced and has been used to being instructed to attack only. When he came on for a short cameo against FC Basel in the Champions League before being sent-off, he was told to attack only and did not with such elegance and purpose.
Sterling largely played an attacking role out wide and Markovic could also fill his boots.
Who do you think could replace Raheem Sterling at Liverpool? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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