Liverpool 'is the best place' for Raheem Sterling says Brendan Rodgers

Youngster on verge of new deal

Manager Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool provide the ideal environment in which teenager Raheem Sterling can flourish.

The 18-year-old has become a first-team regular this season having made a real impact in the early games of Rodgers' tenure.

That progress has been rewarded with a new long-term contract, which Sterling is expected to sign today, to reflect his rising status.

There was a slight hold up to the deal being finalised as negotiations had to be thrashed out over the scale of his pay rise - from a reported £2,000-a-week to nearer £30,000.

But Rodgers insisted extended discussions were also about football as well as financial decisions.

"It was just making sure that we take care in terms of the financial - but also the football - plan for the player," said the Reds boss.

"This was about a young player who has rocketed from playing in the youth teams and the reserves into becoming a full England international.

"A lot has happened in his young life and it was just about making sure that there was that protection for him going forward - both in his financial situation and his football plan.

"I have always been confident that this was going to be the best place for him and thankfully the kid is very focused and devoted to Liverpool.

"His representatives know this is the best place for him. Once it gets concluded, he can start to the next part of his development and hopefully he can keep progressing.

"We were always calm (about the situation). I speak a lot with Raheem and his representatives and there has never been any issues from their side."

Liverpool are moving ahead with their attempts to bring former reserve team player Tom Ince back to the club from Blackpool.

The Seasiders claim talks have taken place and although a formal bid has not been received, the figure the Merseysiders are offering is well below the valuation of chairman Karl Oyston.

Liverpool are keen to lessen the outlay on a player who left them in the summer of 2011 for a nominal £250,000 compensation fee having turned down a contract which would have made him the highest-paid player outside of the first-team squad.

They do have a sell-on fee clause which will reduce the amount they have to pay but Blackpool are believed to value Ince, son of former England international Paul, in the region of £6million.

Rodgers refused to comment on speculation linking the 20-year-old, who has scored 13 goals in the npower Championship, with a return.

But he did admit they were looking to bolster the ranks of young players familiar with domestic football.

"Our scouting network have been looking high and low for all sorts of talents to come in here," he said.

"If we can get talented young players in - and young British players - that will be fantastic for us."

PA

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