Football

Raheem Sterling should be punished if he stays at Liverpool

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Reports say that Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling had refused to have any involvement in the club's pre-season tour.

The youngster has been linked with a move away from the club ever since he refused a new deal in April.

Manchester City are the front-runners for his signature but what will happen if the players move away does not materialise this summer?

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RELATIONSHIP WITH RODGERS

Sky Sports have reportedly been told that Sterling wants to leave Anfield because he no longer wants to play for Brendan Rodgers.

Naturally this claim was immediately denied by the club. It's difficult to know what to believe in this prolonged transfer saga but there's certainly something going on there.

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There was no sign of a strain in the pairs relationship last season as Sterling was a regular in the Northern Irishman's team. However, this saga wouldn't have left their relationship unscathed.

If he indeed doesn't want to play for the manager then it seems like the sensible thing to do would be to let him go.

Liverpool have already rejected two bids for the player which suggests they want to hold on to him. If he ends up staying, taking bold action against the rebel would be a positive start to the new campaign.

MOTIVATED BY MONEY

We've heard a host of reasons for Sterling's desire to depart this summer.

The youngster and his agent can state all the reasons they want but it would be ridiculous to think that money is not influencing his decision.

He's already at a big club capable of winning trophies and he's been a first team regular. What more could he want? Other than more cash...

When Sterling rejected a new deal back in April he said that he was "not a money-grabbing 20-year-old".

Unfortunately for him when you reject a contract worth £100,000 a week then there's justifiable reason for suspicion.

His current contract is worth £35,000 a week, that's an increase of £65,000. Yet he rejected it, if that's not greed then I don't know what is.

Reports are that Rodgers is still hopeful that, if Sterling wants more money, an agreement can be reached.

The club shouldn't be held to ransom by Sterling though. If you hand out a huge contract to a player then it's only a matter of time before others will be queuing up.

Also let's not forget that Sterling is hardly a consistent Premier League performer, £100,000 a week is being generous for someone who is far from the finished article. 

NO GOING BACK

There can surely be no turning back now. Sterling has expressed his desire to leave and reports have suggested he's unwilling to play for the manager.

Worryingly for Sterling Manchester City have yet to submit a third bid. His proposed move away is still far from a certainty this summer.

Where would he begin to repair his relationship with the clubs fans and staff? His attitude over the last few months will surely mean that he's lost the respect of some of his team-mates.

Playing with someone who you know doesn't want to be there would be an awkward situation. Foolishly Sterling seems to think he is much bigger than he actually is.

No player is bigger than a football club but the Englishman doesn't realise this.

The way Sterling has gone about the whole matter has been appalling. This issue could have been settled quietly with a formal transfer request.

Instead Sterling opted to give an exclusive interview to the BBC. The more you think about it the more it seems like desperate attention seeking and sheer arrogance.

It was stupid, but he knew exactly what he was doing.

A SUITABLE PUNISHMENT

If Sterling is still at the club when the transfer window slams shut then it will be time to take suitable action against the want-away player.

Firstly, there should be no new contract. Giving a new deal to a player who has done so much damage to the club's reputation would be a huge step backwards.

It may seem petty, but Liverpool really need to get their own back if he stays. Sterling's terrible attitude means that he should be nowhere near the Liverpool line-up next season.

It may seem extreme but sticking him on the bench week in week out would serve him right for his actions since the season ended. If he doesn't want to play for Rodgers then he can easily get his wish.

Turning him into a bench-warmer would of course reduce his value but Liverpool seem reluctant to sell him anyway.

It's unclear whether Liverpool are simply refusing to back down to Sterling's demands or whether they genuinely see him as part of their plans for next season. After he was booed by fans at the end of season awards it's difficult to see him ever being accepted again.

It's not as if Liverpool are that reliant on him either. Granted he was excellent during the 2013/14 season but this was largely due to the assistance of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

Last season he was average at best. Sterling still shows significant weaknesses in his game, his final ball, finishing and lack of a left-foot are three stand-outs.Anyone who watched him last season will realise that Sterling thinks he's better and more important than he actually is.

Liverpool have the players there to manage fine without him. Roberto Firmino can take his place in midfield and Danny Ings can take up the striking role that Sterling often found himself in last season.

The arrival of these two opens the door for some serious payback. He should be made to suffer for the damage he's done, get him acquainted with the bench and let him go when his contract expires.

Whether Rodgers has the guts to do such a thing is another matter, but it would represent a firm, bold and ultimately positive decision for the club.

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Topics:
Raheem Sterling
Manchester City
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers

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