Liverpool's Jordan Henderson's comments on Raheem Sterling seem to follow a consistent theme

Jordan Henderson hopes his Liverpool and England teammate remains at Anfield.

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has said that Raheem Sterling is a great person with a fantastic work ethic on the field ahead of England's international friendly with the Republic of Ireland.

The close season is already proving to be a busy one at Liverpool, and with talks over the manager's future securing Brendan Rodgers' position at the club for another season, along with the signing of James Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City - the future of Sterling has taken something of a back seat.

But while all that has been going on, in the background speculation linking fierce rivals Manchester United with an offer for the player means the 20-year-old's future is very much unresolved.

Henderson told reporters at a press conference, reported in the Daily Mail: "With respect to him he's obviously left that to whoever's representing him in regards to what he wants to do. But for me Raheem Sterling is a fantastic player and he's been brilliant for England, I hope he will stay at Liverpool.

"One thing I love about him is that he's a great person and a great lad. He's getting a lot of criticism because of the contract situation, but he's first-class as a person, and all the lads love him whether it's here with England or Liverpool. He's a great professional.

"His work ethic is fantastic. He works as hard as he can and wants to improve all the time."

It's interesting that Henderson has cited Sterling's representatives here, who became the centre of an incredible storm when comments he allegedly made ended up in sources such as the Daily Mail suggesting Sterling would not even sign at Liverpool for £900,000 per week. 

Naturally, the player who is out on the pitch has taken the brunt of the abuse and criticism for what has gone on over his contract row because he is in the public eye far more, but it seems to be a consistent message from those within the club.

When that story blew up prior to Liverpool's humiliating final day 6-1 defeat to Stoke City, manager Brendan Rodgers said, quoted by the Guardian: "He was thrust into the team at 17 years of age. In the following period he has been exceptional for me. He has had dips in form and performances but only because his standards are so high.

"The young boy I see on a daily basis and who I work with is still the same boy who wants to learn."

It seems as though they are 'on message' when it comes to Sterling. They don't hold anything against him, there is a lot of noise being caused by the player's agent, the club will claim.

It does beg the question as to whether the players are trying to nudge Sterling in the direction of he and his agent eventually going their separate ways, and trying to sweet talk him into remaining at Anfield.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch