Rodgers says Sterling available for Liverpool's game against Stoke; expects him to stay

Raheem Sterling's future has dominated the news surrounding Liverpool Football Club, and Brendan Rodgers's press conference ahead of the game against Stoke City was no different.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has said his relationship with Raheem Sterling has not been affected by the stand-off and seemingly bitter dispute between the club and the player's representatives over a new contract for the 20-year-old.

A meeting between the club and the player with his representatives scheduled for today has been cancelled by the club, per the BBC, where it was expected Sterling was going to tell Liverpool that he wanted to leave in the summer.

But Rodgers has remained defiant saying that he expects Sterling to remain at the club throughout the remaining years of his current deal.

He told reporters, covered by the Liverpool Echo: "If we've got any meetings to discuss, it'll all be dealt with internally. We don't like to publicise what we're going to do.

"For me, the concentration for myself is to continue to improve Raheem as a football player.

"But the facts are very, very simple. Raheem has two years left on his deal at Liverpool, and I expect him to see that two years through."

It seems to be a line held throughout the club that they are determined to keep Sterling despite what the player or his agent may or may not have said.

Ahead of this weekend's final game of the season against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, the Liverpool manager has no qualms about starting him, and expects that for as long as he plays for Liverpool, he will get the backing of the club's supporters.

He added: "He'll be available for selection. My relationship with him hasn't been affected at all.

"For me, what goes on with contracts, it doesn't change my approach to him. I've always maintained this he is a really good boy.

"I'm sure talks will take place over the summer. I don't see Raheem as being unhappy."

Looking ahead to Sunday's game, Rodgers is determined to finish the season strongly and secure fifth place in the Premier League - even if it has been a disappointing campaign overall. Mario Balotelli is a doubt for the game through a foot injury, but the Reds seem to have the same players from last week's defeat to Crystal Palace available again.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch