Why Raheem Sterling needs to take a look in the mirror, and Liverpool need to dig their heels in

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling will tell Liverpool he wants to leave the club, according to several reports.

It was inevitable at some stage that reports would emerge that Raheem Sterling will ask to leave Liverpool Football Club.

For much of the second half of the season his contract negotiations have been something of a saga. Brendan Rodgers has said he has been relaxed over the situation, and thought the deal would be concluded before the end of the current campaign, while Sterling himself said he wanted to put off talks until the end of the season.

There have been mixed reports about the situation. Sky Sports has reported that Sterling felt bullied by the club into trying to sign a new deal and generated some negative press surrounding the 20-year-old. That version of events will be greeted with scoffs and laughter on Merseyside. 

People can understand putting off talks until the summer and concentrating on his football. If anything, that probably shows some element of maturity in a very young man, but Sterling needs to realise that a lot of the negativity towards him started carrying significant weight after a BBC interview he gave - reportedly without clearing it with the club first.

In that interview he said he was 'flattered' by the interest from Arsenal while denying he was any kind of money-grabber.

When it comes to creating negative headlines he has done a lot of that work himself, and it is clear that his performances of late are not satisfying the Anfield faithful, which was painfully evident during the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday evening. 

It's obvious that Sterling is a talent. His pace is frightening, but he has a lot of work to do and lately he has come up with a couple of Miss of the Season contenders which underlines that he needs to work very hard when it comes to improving his end product.

There is, of course, an issue with how Liverpool have handled their contract negotiations, with talks for several players appearing protracted over the course of the season so far. 

A lot of emphasis has been placed on Sterling's role in the side in the season and it's of little surprise that he might want a bigger pay packet to reflect his importance.

But with two years left, Liverpool should dig their heels in and not sell the England international. They managed to do it with Luis Suarez for a summer, got him to sign a new contract and then sold him on - albeit after the Uruguayan decided to bite Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup. 

Liverpool could follow a similar example here. Though the club have not exactly covered themselves in glory when it comes to matching the ambition of players and keeping hold of some vital members of the squad, Sterling has not nearly earned the status that he appears to think he deserves.

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