A section of Liverpool fans voiced their feelings over Raheem Sterling's determination to leave the club after booing the midfielder as he collected the Young Player of the Year award at an end-of-season ceremony.
Sterling has chosen to reject talks over a contract extension at Anfield and instead has set his heart on a move to another club in search of silverware, but as revealed by The Independent, Liverpool have no intentions of selling the 20-year-old this summer and will risk losing him next year for a reduced price.
Earlier in the season, Sterling rejected a new £100,000-a-week long-term contract and gave an unsanctioned interview to the BBC that caused Liverpool no end of grief. With two years left to run on his current deal, the club were fearful that he could choose to run down his contract and leave the club, and their fears are beginning to be realised.
Liverpool potential striker targets
Liverpool potential striker targets
1/7 Christian Benteke (Aston Villa, 24)
Appears to be Liverpool's primary target but after a brilliant end of season (11 in nine games) his value will have gone through the roof.
2/7 Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon, 23)
The French striker has had an absolute brilliant season for the title chasers, scoring 29 goals in just 33 games. However, he is now being linked with Champions League clubs across Europe.
3/7 Theo Walcott (Arsenal, 26)
This potential transfer seems to hinge on what happens with Raheem Sterling. But Walcott could be seen as a man to fill in up top and then move to the wing when Sturridge returns, although he too has a poor track record with injury.
4/7 Paul-Georges Ntep (Rennes, 22)
Able to play on the wing or up front, the exciting Cameroonian has bags of pace and an eye for goal. Not really prolific but could be a decent stop-gap who would still be in the first-team when Sturridge came back.
5/7 Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City, 25)
Clearly has great quality but has struggled with form and injury in his time at the Etihad, with just 11 Premier League starts in two seasons. Would be interesting to see him given a real chance.
6/7 Graziano Pelle (Southampton, 29)
Liverpool may be think twice about doing business with Southampton after getting burned for Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, but the Italian has shown he is a great target man with an eye for goal.
7/7 Jay Rodriguez (Southampton, 25)
Has now missed more than a year of action after last season's horror injury at Manchester City, Rodriguez was probably going to the World Cup before going down. Would be a huge gamble but if he is able to return to form it'd be worth the risk.
The former QPR academy player, who joined Liverpool in 2010 before making his first-team debut in 2012, was announced as the winner of the Young Player award, and he took to the stage to make a short acceptance speech at the ceremony on Tuesday night.
However, his speech was interrupted by shouts of “Stay Raheem” and as finished speaking there was loud boos from areas of the 3,000 fans attending the ceremony in the Echo Arena.
The boos returned when Sterling’s name was read out during a video montage a few minutes later.
Manchester City seem to be leading the race to sign Sterling should Liverpool decide that cash in on the England international, with the club valuing Sterling at around £30m. Both Chelsea and Arsenal are also said to be monitoring Sterling’s future, although Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn on speculation linking him with a move for Sterling.
The Anfield faithful have already vented their anger at Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward after they blamed him for trying to force a move to another club, with chants being sung during matches aimed at both Sterling and Ward.
However, he spoke on Tuesday to suggest that the talks due to be held with the club this week have been “blown somewhat out of proportion” and attempted to talk down the prospect of an immediate exit.
"The story has been blown somewhat out of proportion," Ward said in a statement to talkSPORT.
"Raheem and his representatives have a meeting scheduled with Liverpool later this week, and we will take proceedings from there."
In terms of the actual awards night, it was one to remember for Philippe Coutinho, who picked up the Player of the Season, Players’ Player, Individual Performance of the Year and Goal of the Season.
With captain Steven Gerrard set to leave the club at the end of the season after 17 years of service for the club, he was fittingly given the Outstanding Achievement Award, though he was keen to end all the talk about himself as he said he was “bored” of it.
"To be honest I am a little bit bored speaking about myself so I want to pay tribute to Philippe, it's his night tonight. He cleaned up on all the awards and deservedly so,” said Gerrard.
"He is the next big thing for me, I hope he stays here for a long time and helps us win some more trophies."Reuse content