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Yes we are back but don’t think you will hear pretty little sound bites telling you how good Liverpool Football Club is.

What you will read in these columns are the real issues and what is wrong with the club and how it can be put right.

 If you cannot take criticism about the manager, the owners, the players or indeed the club then do a runner and go cover the cracks elsewhere.

We need to stop kissing the ass’s of the people that run our club and start being more critical of the continual overload of bad judgements that has got us where we are today otherwise it’s more of the same for the foreseable future. That is unless you are satisfied with watching the likes of Spurs rise above us!

 


Contract talks are underway

Liverpool star CONFIRMS contract talks are underway

LIVERPOOL defender Kolo Toure is close to agreeing an extension to his contract which expires next month.

Kolo Toure

GETTYKolo Toure closes in on new Liverpool deal

The former Ivory Coast international is likely to agree a new 12-month term having wavered over whether to commit with more lucrative offers coming in from overseas.However, the 34-year-old is keen to finish his career in England and wants to stay at Liverpool.

“I think the situation will be resolved soon,” he said. “We are talking. There are few things more but we will see.

Liverpool is a great club for me to stay at

Kolo Toure

“Liverpool is a great club for me to stay at. Liverpool is going to be massive.”I love Premier League football and I played all my years here and if I can finish here (Liverpool) it would be great.

“I play for Liverpool right now and I am very happy and if it was to carry on, I’d be more than happy.”

 The start of another great defence for next season!

Are the fans undecided now?

Liverpool FC Talking Point: If plenty of fans were still ‘undecided’ on Rodgers’ future, then this was enough to change their minds

Increasing majority of Reds believe last season, not this, was the exception to the rule where Rodgers is concerned

Brendan Rodgers

 

Prior to this game, Brendan Rodgers was asked by the media if he believed he would be Liverpool’s manager next season.

“Yes, yes, 150 per cent,” was his tub-thumping answer.

If he is still of that opinion now, then he’s either the bravest man alive, or he’s kidding himself.

There are lows and then there are lows. In a footballing sense, this was as bad as it gets, the most embarrassing afternoon imaginable, both for Rodgers and for Liverpool Football Club. Disgraceful barely does it justice.

Rodgers was berated as he passed the travelling Reds fans on his way to the dressing room at half time. It wasn’t a nice sight, but then Liverpool were 5-0 down. At Stoke. At half time, having conceded all the goals in the space of 22 horrific minutes. In all honesty, he was lucky any Reds had stayed long enough to confront him.

“They have every right to be angry and frustrated,” he said. “That was awful, absolutely awful.”

If there were still plenty of supporters in the ‘undecided’ camp when it comes to the manager’s future, then this was enough to change their minds. This was a performance so bad, it had to be seen to be believed. A sackable offence? Time will tell.

Rodgers’ end-of-season review with the American owners next week – “a formality”, he felt last week – will now be a more than uncomfortable experience. He may be able to offer mitigation for an underwhelming season, or show the logic behind his increasingly strange team selections, but to explain a capitulation, a humiliation, like this? All the best.

This was a performance worse than anything the club offered up under either Roy Hodgson or Kenny Dalglish

To be fair to him, he didn’t even try to here. Usually a bullish, confident character in front of the cameras, here his demeanour reflected his team’s performance; humbled, humiliated, beaten. That pained, haunted look, we’ve seen it before. It was the look of a man worried about his job.

“If the owners ask me to go, then I go,” he said. By the end of next week, we will know whether they’ve asked.

If they do, then what a horrendous way to sign off – with the club’s worst competitive defeat for 52 years, with supporters jeering, players hiding. And with an increasing majority believing that last season, not this, was the exception to the rule where Rodgers is concerned.

There’s no sugar coating it; this was a performance worse than anything the club offered up under either Roy Hodgson or Kenny Dalglish, both of whom lost their jobs pretty swiftly under Fenway Sports Group.

Of course, the noises out of Anfield throughout this season, even during the darkest moments, have been that Rodgers is NOT in danger of becoming the latest managerial casualty.

“He’s our man,” was the message after defeat to Crystal Palace in November, and repeated following the FA Cup semi final defeat to Aston Villa in April. The manager’s position was “not even up for discussion.”

It’ll be being discussed now, though. Loudly. You can bet your bottom dollar on that one.

And if Rodgers does convince FSG he is still their man, then it will rank among his greatest achievements to date.


My opinion (for what it’s worth!)

If I was to be perfectly honest – I thought there was no way Rodgers would get fired. My thinking was that it would cost the owners too much (£10m) but the more I dissect our current situation, we have lost well more than that in TV money and CL qualifying payments.

There is quite obviously something not right at the club – Stevie G making his swansong and what do we do? – In these final two games we score 2 goals and let in 9.

Yet again another awful run-in and the fans chanting for Rafa and Klopp surely must turn the heads of the powers at Anfield

It seems to me that Rodgers has clearly lost the dressing room – the Sterling thing has seriously poisoned the club with most of the PL fans mocking us yet again with their ‘here we go again’ thoughts.

Rodgers continual failed tactics  (Can on the right yet again)) is ludicrous judgement by the manager with his stubborness shining through

A massive clear-out will be needed as most of these players just don’t perform for him but his loyalty might get in the way of packing the bags of those he was responsible for bringing into the club. Lets face it who would you actually keep to form a challenging team? Only one for me is Courtinho. We need a total overhaul and I’m not sure whether Rodgers can do that.

Klopp is my man. He might fire up this squad adding a few quality additions. Rodgers position is no longer credible, given his statement 3 years ago “Give me three years to see what I will achieve”

If FSG keep him they surely risk becoming equated with the previous American owners and will suffer the wrath of the fans.

Liverpool Football Club needs to be propelled back to something approaching its former glory. The owners absolutely owe it to the tremendous worldwide fan base.

Klopp has the international clout to bring in world quality. This is something Rodgers will never do.


Report Card

Liverpool – the 2014-15 season report card

Liverpool - the 2014-15 season report cardVerdict

Liverpool failed to meet their targets. They lost their top four status and fell short of claiming the first trophy of the Brendan Rodgers era. The scintillating football of last season disappeared.

Best moment

A home victory over Manchester City in March seemed to have repaired the damage of a poor first half of the season. Philippe Coutinho’s exquisite winner promised more than was ultimately delivered.

Worst moment

The FA Cup semi-final defeat to Aston Villa was devastating, not just because Liverpool lost, but due to a rancid performance. Liverpool were outplayed against a team in relegation trouble.

Player of the year

Philippe Coutinho is the only genuine candidate. He shone with some stunning goals, and kept going despite having no strikers to pass to.

Transfers

Liverpool spent £110 million, but no signings had a major positive impact on the team. There are signs of promise in the likes of Emre Can, but generally transfer policy is failing.

Quote of the season

“I’ll certainly be coming back,” Steven Gerrard confirms although his Liverpool playing career is over, his Anfield exit will be temporary.

How Liverpool’s season unfolded
Suarez says goodbye
The season begins with Barcelona stripping Liverpool of their most prized asset, but the club arguably do well to recoup £75 million for a 27-year-old serving a four-month ban from all types of football for his bite on Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
Mario moves in
The Fenway Sports Group allows Brendan Rodgers to reinvest the Suarez income, and the signing of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan for £16 million takes the club’s spending to £117 million. The latter is a curious move, given Rodgers had ruled out a move weeks earlier…
Everton inflict late misery
September 27, 2014
Liverpool make an inauspicious start to the new season, losing three of their opening five games, and Phil Jagielka scores a last-minute wonder goal to deny them victory in the first Merseyside derby of the season. After six games, they are 12th.
Champions League hopes dented
October 1, 2014
Disaster in Switzerland as Liverpool are beaten 1-0 by Basle, leaving them with an uphill task to qualify from Group B, which includes European champions Real Madrid.
Late drama at QPR
October 19, 2014
Two QPR own goals atone for the one conceded by Steven Gerrard, as Liverpool win a match that features four goals scored in a hectic final eight minutes. The win elevates Liverpool to fourth.
European dream snuffed out
December 9, 2014
Liverpool concede early in their vital final Champions League group game against Basle. Gerrard strikes late on to offer hope, but his side fail to seal the victory they require and drop into the Europa League.
Sterling flies to Jamaica
January 9, 2015
Not long after receiving criticism for declining an England call up because he felt ‘tired’, Sterling is granted a winter break by his club manager, who admits he is suffering from ‘burnout’. “Sterling has been getting absolutely slaughtered, but the boy has been brilliant,” Rodgers says.
Costa stamps his mark on Reds
January 27, 2015
A chance to win some silverware for the first time since 2012 is lost, as Chelsea prevail in a bad-tempered Capital One Cup semi-final. Liverpool lose the second leg in extra time, and are made to regret their profligacy in front of goal, although most headlines revolve around a stamp by Diego Costa on Emre Can.
Game of the season?
February 10, 2015
Regarded by many as one of the best games of the season, a late – and rare – Mario Balotelli goal seals a second victory for Liverpool over Spurs this season. Twice Spurs claw their way back into the game before Balotelli’s first goal in 13 league appearances earns a 3-2 win.
A scalp at last
March 1, 2015
Liverpool hit a good run of form in the new year, going unbeaten in the league from mid-December until late March. Their 2-1 victory against Manchester City marks their first victory against a top four club that season, and moves them back up to fifth spot.
More Euro woe
February 26, 2015
Liverpool’s disastrous European form continues when they are knocked out in the Europa League’s round of 32 stage by Besiktas. They fail to defend their slender 1-0 win from Anfield in Turkey, and are eliminated after a penalty shoot-out.
‘It’s not about the money’
April 1, 2015
Raheem Sterling’s contract impasse with the club escalates after he gives an unauthorised interview to the BBC, explaining why, at the age of 20, he has turned down a contract offer of £100,000 per week. “It’s not about the money at all. It’s never once been about the money. I don’t want to be perceived as a money grabbing 20-year-old”.
Thrashed by Arsenal
April 4, 2015
In the match directly after their unbeaten run is ended by Manchester United, Arsenal absolutely run riot at the Emirates in a 4-1 victory, Liverpool’s heaviest league defeat of the season. Dreams of a top-four finish are dashed.
Crushed in the Cup
April 19, 2015
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Liverpool’s season as Fabian Delph’s second-half goal at Wembley fires Tim Sherwood’s team to a Wembley FA Cup final against Arsenal.
Henderson signs on
April 23, 2015
Amidst the Sterling contract drama some better news: Jordan Henderson, the club vice-captain and the most likely heir to Steven Gerrard, commits his long-term future to the club.
Sturridge’s season comes to an end
May 5, 2015
A key factor in Liverpool’s underwhelming season has been a lack of firepower up front. Daniel Sturridge suffered an injury plagued campaign, and at the beginning of May he travels to America for specialist hip surgery.
Gerrard’s party falls flat
May 16, 2015
Steven Gerrard plays his last game at Anfield against Crystal Palace, prior to joining LA Galaxy on a free transfer. He parades around the pitch before and after the game, but Palace poop the party with goals from Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray.
Sterling wants out
May 18, 2015
Sterling tells Rodgers he wants to leave Liverpool, citing a desire to win trophies. The fall-out lasts for days, with Manchester United approaching Liverpool over a possible transfer, and Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward launching an attack on the club.

Rodgers out of control at Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers out of control at Liverpool, says Arsenal legend

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown isn’t convinced Brendan Rodgers has backing of Liverpool dressing room

Martin Keown believes Brendan Rodgers has lost control of the Liverpool dressing room after a horror first-half performance at The Britannia.

The Reds trailed Stoke City by five goals after a disastrous showing on Steven Gerrard’s final appearance for the 18-time English champions.

Liverpool are facing the prospect of finishing in sixth place after having narrowly missed out on the Premier League title last season.

Former Arsenal defender Keown reckons Rodgers is in big trouble at the Merseyside outfit after shipping five first-half goals.

Keown told BBC Sport: “It does not look like Brendan Rodgers is in control at all right now. The question is, is he a top manager or a top coach? We are not mentioning Stoke but they are playing such good football.”

Rodgers was appointed as Kenny Dalglish’s successor in May 2012 after having guided Swansea City into the Premier League and keeping them in the top flight.

Liverpool have finished in the Premier League top four just once in three seasons under the Northern Irishman since his appointment.

Rodgers spend over £110m on new signings last summer following the £75m departure of Luis Suarez to La Liga outfit Barcelona.


Interpret this

Rodgers said after the Stoke defeat …

“Last season when everything is working well you have the support of everyone, but performances like this don’t help you.”

My take on what he’s saying

“Wish the fans would get of my back, it’s all their fault”


Sterling dropped

Liverpool drop Raheem Sterling, put a £60m price on his head – and plan new signings!

Raheem Sterling pic

LIVERPOOL today dropped controversial forward Raheem Sterling for the final game of the season at Stoke City, unofficially placed a £60 million price tag on his head, and lined up a series of new signings.

It was decisive action by the Anfield regime having scrapped a meeting on Friday with Sterling to discuss a new deal at Liverpool. The player’s agent had dismissed any notion of a new deal and so the club called off the discussion.

Rumours are circulating ahead of the end of the Premier League season that Sterling (pictured) expected to be left out of the team to start Steven Gerrard’s farewell game, after saying his Anfield goodbyes last week.

If Sterling is left on the bench – or even sat in the stands – Brendan Rodgers is sure to suggest it has nothing to do with the unsavoury events of the last few days. But it is clear that a section of the Liverpool faithful have turned against him and it would seem wise to keep the 20-year-old out of the limelight – yet leaving him out will creates big news in itself.

However, Rodgers has his eyes on new signings to rescue Liverpool from falling further behind the clubs currently in possession of the top four places.

Rodgers and his Anfield transfer committee have lined up £35m Christian Benteke from Aston Villa; taking Danny Ings at the end of his Burnley contract for around £6million in compensation; signing James Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City and Brazilian keeper Neto.

There is now great pressure on Rodgers and the controversial committee to get recruitment right. Because they haven’t got it right so far

Brendan Rodgers failure to win a trophy in three seasons and his failings in the transfer market should cost him his job at Anfield argues club legend Steve McMahon – so Zapsportz.com has analysed the managers failure rate among his signings…an astonishing 24 players for £211,550,000

Zapsportz.com conclusion is that Rodgers has wasted much, if not most, of the £210 million, totally squandering the massive fee for Luis Suarez.

As Liverpool are fifth in the Premier League four points behind fourth placed Manchester United having spent £100m on new players last summer, they only hope of catching Manchester United for a Champions League spot is by winning at newly crowned champions Chelsea on Sunday.

McMahon says the signings have simply not worked out and the loss of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge cannot hide Rodgers responsibility for his underperforming side.

Their were calls for Rodgers to be sacked on earlier in the season and once again there is unrest around Anfield with Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave Dortmund linking him inevitably with Liverpool.

“You can’t go from second and almost winning the Premiership to fifth maybe sixth in the league in one season after spending £100m plus,” he told ESPN.  “Ok there’s the excuses that they make that [Luis] Suarez has left and [that] [Daniel] Sturridge has been injured but you still had £100m to spend.

“Now you need value for money and I don’t think Liverpool have had value for money with those players.It’s clear to see that the performance level for Liverpool haven’t been near good enough.”


Things to take care of

Can Brendan Rodgers Pull The Reverse Switcheroo?

Liverpool FC Vs. Newcastle United FC

It has been a mixed bag for Brendan Rodgers in his Liverpool career so far, and after a poor season, he faces his biggest test yet, finding solutions for complicated problems this summer.

Rewind to this time last season, Liverpool had agonizingly fallen short, for the title and finished runners-up to Manchester City. Brendan Rodgers was hailed as the best thing that could happen for Liverpool, and the Northern Irishman would have loved to kick on from last season`s title assault. What followed is a disaster by any standard. First Luis Suarez was off to Barcelona, and then the cash splurge on unproven players who were simply not up to the mark.

Raheem Sterling`s uncertain future at the club, failure to finish in the top four, Steven Gerrard`s departure from the club all adds up to his woes, and Brendan Rodgers will sure have a tough time convincing the owners that he is the right man for the job. The Liverpool manager will have to face an ‘end of the season meeting’ with Liverpool`s principle owner John W Henry, and the last Liverpool manager to attend this meeting- Kenny Dalglish, got the sack.  It would take a lot for Rodgers to convince the owners that he is the right man, and here are some of the issues that will be on the top of his agenda.

Resolve the Sterling situation as soon as possible

No player is bigger than the club. Barring Luis Suarez and Xabi Alonso, Liverpool has more or less found able replacements for marquee players who have left the club for greener pastures. Raheem Sterling and his agent have pretty much made it clear that the 20 year old wishes to move elsewhere. No one wants an unhappy player at the club and Sterling has not had a stellar season to make him ‘unsellable’. This saga has been happening for the past few months and in the past few days; the situation has become quite embarrassing to the club. Despite Brendan Rodgers` claims that Sterling is staying put, he might be looking at the best possible suitors.  Manchester City seems to be in pole position to sign Sterling, and Rodgers would be more than happy to sell him should the rich Sheiks bid more than 40 million pounds.

Improving the squad and getting rid of the deadwood

With the Europa League in their schedule for the next season, it is important for Rodgers to improve his squad and

Liverpool FC Left Back Conundrum- Jose_Enrique's injury

Players like Enrique, who have contributed more on social media than on the football pitch, should be shown the door

get rid of the current deadwood at the club. It is also important that the mistakes of not season not be repeated again this year. The transfers made last summer was one of the worst in Liverpool`s recent history. Despite having Suarez`s transfer money, the signings were mediocre. Only Emre Can and Alberto Moreno have come close to justifying their price tags.

At the moment, there are many players at the club who do not have a future and their sale should fund for new signings. It would be very tough to ship out players like Jose Enrique, who has not really contributed on the pitch than he has on social media this season. Glen Johnson has neared the end of his contract and will most certainly leaving. Fabio Borini will most likely head to Italy and going by past experiences with Italian clubs; Liverpool must make sure they sell him, instead of opting for a loan deal. Rickie Lambert`s dream move didn’t quite work out and the former Southampton man will have many potential buyers in the Premier league.

Javi Manquillo`s frustrating stint, where he played second fiddle to Glen Johnson, has not quite worked out, and he might be heading back to Atletico this summer.  Sebastian Coates and Iago Aspas look set to exit from Anfield, and it would be a miracle if Liverpool garner atleast 20 million pounds by selling these players.

Last but not the least, is ‘Super Mario Balotelli’. The Italian has disappointed despite being given numerous opportunites, and has hardly contributed on the pitch except for the winner against Tottenham and the goal in the Champions League against Ludogorets. Sampdoria are interested in the Italian and only a loan deal might materialise for Super Mario.

Loanees Divock Origi, Luis Alberto, Tiago Illori and the injured Joao Texeira should be back to Melwood in the summer, and based on their performances in pre-season, their futures will be decided.

Get a proper centre forward

With Daniel Sturridge`s battles with injuries becoming more prominent than his goal scoring, signing a top centre

Carlos Bacca is linked with Liverpool

Sevilla`s Carlos Bacca is linked with Liverpool

forward should be Rodgers’ priority. Signing a centre forward who actually fits in the ‘system’ is more important. As of now, Liverpool are linked with Danny Ings, Stevan Jovetic and Charlie Austin.  Not big names, but with FSG`s policy of not coughing up ridiculous amounts of wages and no Champions League football in offer, it is really tough to attract the likes of Higuain or Lacazette.

Carlos Bacca is another player who is worth the gamble. The Sevilla forward has had a very good season in the La Liga, scoring 20 goals and is fifth in the goal scorers’ list. The Colombian is also in the peak of his career, and his experience in front of goal is going to be vital if Liverpool are getting back into the Champions League. The transfer committee will be very busy this season and there are going to be many names linked with Liverpool this summer.

Resolve contract situations of important players

Liverpool has lost the likes of Carragher, Agger, Suarez in the past three years and with Gerrard departing this summer, the experience of the senior players will be missed. In the current squad, only Martin Skrtel and Lucas Leiva have stayed at Anfield for five plus years. It is imperative to have their influence in a pretty young Liverpool squad. Skrtel, who has been Liverpool`s Mr. Consistent in the last few years, has another year left in his current contract and is currently negotiating with the club on extending his Anfield career.

Jon Flanagan, who was likened to Carragher by Luis Suarez in his autobiography, has signed a contract extension for another year. The 22 year old will be the only scouser left in the senior team after Gerrard`s departure. Flanagan`s no nonsense defending and his work rate was deeply missed and Rodgers will love to have him back from the treatment table as soon as possible. The Liverpool fans will also be glad to see Jordan Ibe signing a new contract. The England U-20 international has had a breakthrough season at Liverpool and will be an important player next season.


LFC messed up Gerrards departure

Ian Doyle (Echo): Why didn’t Liverpool FC simply allow Steven Gerrard to leave on loan?

For all the talk of welcoming departing skipper back to Anfield, Reds could have just let his exit be temporary

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool in action during a training session at Melwood Training Ground on May 22, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Steven Gerrard hasn’t even left Liverpool yet and already people at the club have been queuing up to talk up his return.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers says the door will always be open.

Chairman Tom Werner insists there will always be a place at Anfield for the outgoing skipper.

And the player himself revealed he has already been invited to train at Melwood during the MLS close season in the winter.

Which all begs one pertinent question.

If all those words are heartfelt, then why on earth didn’t Liverpool simply allow Gerrard to join LA Galaxy on a two-year loan rather than let him leave on a permanent deal?

A temporary switch would have made sense.

Gerrard could have moved to the MLS for the duration of their season, giving him the opportunity of regular football that has been a contributory factor to his exit.

And, by retaining the player’s registration, there would have been no issues should Liverpool have opted to utilise Gerrard’s experience until the MLS resumed in the New Year.

Surely, if the club was as eager as their words make them appear, something could have been arranged.

To be fair, maybe Gerrard was the driver behind the clean break, the desire to step out of the goldfish bowl of Merseyside to the less intense surrounds of California.

But it will be interesting to discover whether a loan switch was ever an option tabled by Liverpool when contract talks were taking place.

Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard during a training session at Melwood

Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard during a training session at Melwood

Gerrard leaves at a time of great uncertainty around Anfield, although Raheem Sterling seems pretty intent on leaving despite the skipper insisting the winger would be best served staying put.

And here lays another issue with his departure.

It was Gerrard who helped persuade Luis Suarez to stay on for another year, almost helping win Liverpool the championship in the process.

It was Gerrard who told Fernando Torres it was the right decision to depart Anfield for Chelsea in 2011.

And it was Gerrard whose mere presence in the squad helped lure such talents to the club in the first place.

But with skipper about to go, his words don’t hold anywhere the same currency.

And who is there to become Liverpool’s salesman, their figurehead, their ambassador?

Jamie Carragher, Suarez, Pepe Reina, Daniel Agger and now Gerrard. All were strong, influential voices in the confines of the dressing room and the outside world.

Now there’s nobody to realistically fill that void. Not even Rodgers himself, who doesn’t – at least not yet – have the reach of a Gerard Houllier or Rafael Benitez, or the respect of a Kenny Dalglish.

Another reason to make Gerrard’s departure only temporary, surely.


Turn Reds fortune around

5 top players to turn the Reds fortune around and keep Rodgers in a job

Theo Walcott

Nathaniel Clyne

William Carvalho

Alexandre Lacazette

Gonzalo Higuain

With professsional transfer acumen it is quite possible to get them all


Overrated and unreliable

Raheem Sterling is overrated and unreliable – Liverpool should take £40million for him NOW

The England man’s career on Merseyside is surely finished and if someone is prepared to hand over the cash, the Reds should walk him to his destination

On his way: Sterling’s Liverpool career is surely over

Blimey! Imagine the fuss if he could kick the ball straight more often than not.

Raheem Sterling has a trick or two – but reliable, top-class finishing isn’t one of them.

Best young player in Europe? On recent evidence, one of the most overrated.

If someone is prepared to rid Anfield of Sterling and his agent AND hand over £40million, then Liverpool should walk him to his destination.

His career on Merseyside is surely finished.

He was very good when enjoying the time and space given to him by the unremitting brilliance and labour of Luis Suarez, the constant threat of Daniel Sturridge and the last vestiges of Steven Gerrard’s majesty, but has hardly thrived when the burden of responsibility has grown.

When Brendan Rodgers was talking him up, maybe he knew Sterling would be off and was trying to get a few extra quid for him.

Not that you have to do much talking to get a few extra quid for decent English players. Liverpool paid £25million for Adam Lallana, a nice footballer.

But he is six years older than Sterling and, arguably, not as good.

And Sterling can improve. If he is to match the grandeur of his agent’s ­ambitions, he needs to.

Aidy Ward is the breed of agent who becomes the news. Just as Jonathan Barnett has become news in Madrid over his Gareth Bale comments.

Agent talk: Ward and Sterling have come under criticism

He “has never been to one of our training sessions”, said the wonderfully caustic Carlo Ancelotti.

Rightly or wrongly, it has never been seen as the noblest of professions, but Ward is having a mighty fine crack at taking it to new lows.

Earlier in the week, he gave a ­statement to talkSPORT, saying the Sterling-won’t-sign stories had been “blown out of proportion”.

A couple of days later, he ­apparently said Sterling would not be signing, not even for “£700,000, £800,000 or £900,000 a week”.

Ward is fully entitled to try and find ways for his client to leave if that’s what Sterling wants to do. He is fully entitled to drive a hard bargain.

Do not believe Jamie Carragher’s and Steven Gerrard’s agent never played hardball. Gerrard was earning £100,000-a-week TEN years ago.

But you wonder if Ward has ever heard of someone like Tony Stephens.

Not seen and not heard, Stephens was the agent for the formative years of the careers of players such as David Platt, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer and David Beckham.

And I can’t remember hearing a peep from him. He certainly never called anyone a “knob”.

And the public persona of those ­footballers benefited from that. There is absolutely no doubt Ward has his client’s interests at heart.

It is clear the two have a bond. But he is saddling Sterling with an image that is probably unjustified.

If this whole thing is not about money, just hand in a transfer request. A good, old-fashioned transfer request.

Write it out, get Sterling to sign it and post it through Rodgers’ door. It is easy.

If Liverpool accept, that might mean foregoing a few quid, but, hey, it’s not about the dough.

Rodgers is making noises that ­Liverpool would not grant such a request.

Principles are flexible in football, none more so than the one which suggests a player should be shipped out the moment he makes it clear he sees his future elsewhere.

If that player is Cristiano Ronaldo or Luis Suarez, that principle can be binned.

If that player is Raheem Sterling, stick to it. Liverpool should sell.


Rodgers Weak Yet Again

Rodgers Weak Yet Again: Liverpool MUST Take Charge Of Sterling Fiasco

Raheem Sterling has refused to sign a new contract with Liverpool this week, causing outrage amongst fans, and sparking a £40-million-scramble for his signature.

From Graeme Souness to Roy Hodgson, Thierry Henry to Adrian Bevington, it seems everyone who’s anyone in English football has voiced an opinion.

Throughout the city Liverpudlians are furious at the prospect of Sterling’s depature, on social media Chelsea and Arsenal fans are writing desperate pleas for their clubs to make a bid.

However, there seems to be one thing missing. Whether, like Souness, you think the 20-year-old is being naive:

“Maybe someone should whisper in his ear and tell him he’s not going anywhere better, there is nowhere better.”

Or, like Hodgson, you are sympathetic towards the situation:

“I worry for all these young players, to be honest. They become stars very quickly. Their period of potential stardom doesn’t last for very long these days.”

It would appear that nobody is pointing out Sterling’s statistics. Yes he had an exciting breakthrough season, 9 goals and 7 assists in the EPL, but he hasn’t progressed. Of course 7 goals and 8 assists this time around is a solid return for a youngster, but it’s a stand-still, a similar record to the likes of Sadio Mane and Jason Puncheon; by no means bad players but most certainly not worth anywhere near £40 million.

I do however agree with Hodgson’s sentiments entirely. The real story here is not Raheem Sterling, it’s the much deeper truth that we as a country overhype young players to the point of exhaustion. Danny Ings and Connor Wickham, two young English players struggling to reproduce their best, both wilting under the weight of expectation, still linked with the likes of Liverpool on an almost-daily basis. Ross Barkley is another example, since being compared to Paul Gascoigne he has been lost, forever dwelling on the ball, thinking that he has to do something special everytime he has possession.

A few years ago I watched a Sky Sports broadcast of Newcastle v Leicester, making his full debut in that game was an 18-year-old Nile Ranger. After an impressive performance, he was given the man of the match award and then hailed by pundits and journalists alike as a ‘future England star’.

Ranger is now contracted to crisis-club Blackpool though he hasn’t played since November.

This is not how it happens in Spain and Germany; where players with top-class potential are nurtured, paid well but not excessively, eased-in to their stardom. No, English football, and in particular the Premier League, is a a free-for-all.

You can’t really blame Sterling, who was raised in Jamaica and London by his mother, for wanting a move away.

He has been repeatedly told by the media, his manager and the Liverpool fans a that he is a wonderkid, a player worthy of Champions League football, someone who belongs in a title-winning side, yet now he is being berated for believing them.

Originally, there were reports that the QPR youth product was just haggling for a better deal than Liverpool’s initial offer of £100,000-per-week. However, now it has emerged via agent, Aidy Ward, that Sterling feels ‘hurt’ by Liverpool’s failure to look after him and that he will refuse to commit to the club no matter what:

“I don’t care about the PR of the club and the club situation. I don’t care. He is definitely not signing £700, £800, £900,000 a week. He is not signing.”

Despite this, and the cancellation of a crunch meeting between the club and Sterling’s representatives, Brendan Rodgers insists that the youngster will remain at Anfield:

“Whether there are talks or no talks, he has 2 years left and I expect him to be here. It is quite simple. I don’t see Raheem being unhappy. His representative made it very clear he wanted to speak at the end of the season.”

Unclear. Though it looks likely that this is just yet another poor attempt by Rodgers to appease fans.

If I were him I really wouldn’t be worried, there are plenty of players out there that can do just as good a job for Liverpool as Sterling; Barcelona’s Pedro for example. In fact, if the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Chelsea are willing to offer £40 million for an unproven 20-year-old, I’d sell him in a heartbeat.

That said, what Rodgers must be concerned about is the state of his club. Sterling’s lack of loyalty proves that Liverpool’s past is no longer enough to keep players tied down.

The Reds are heading into uncharted territory, Steven Gerrard the final icon of history to depart, there is a storm heading to Merseyside and, Sterling or no Sterling, I just don’t think Rodger’s is the man to lead Liverpool through it.