Raheem Sterling future: Forward 'risks becoming a squad player' at another club, says departing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard

Sterling should stay at Anfield where he can 'continue development'

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The Independent Football

Raheem Sterling will risk stagnating as a player if he leaves Liverpool this summer, warned departing captain Steven Gerrard.

The unhappy forward is seemingly attempting to force his way out of the club, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid all linked with the 20-year-old.

But Gerrard, who is set to end his long spell at Liverpool when he moves to the LA Galaxy, has said that Sterling should be careful what he wishes for - and that it will be better for his development to stay at a team where he is a first-team regular.

Gerrard has warned the England youngster that should he move to one of those clubs he risks sitting on the bench as those clubs tend to show less patience with young players.

"I wish I did know (what will happen) because I have been reading a lot about him myself," said the 35-year-old, who will be a pundit on BT Sport next season.

Relations between the club and the player's agent Aidy Ward hit a low last month when the Reds cancelled a meeting to restart negotiations over a new deal after comments from Ward suggesting the 20-year-old would not sign a new contract.

The England international turned down Liverpool's £100,000-a-week offer in January and all the noises coming from the player's camp since appear to have been designed to manufacture a move away.

"I think the only two people that know are Raheem and his agent. I think for the player's sake and for all of us fans out there he needs to make the decision quickly," added Gerrard.

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Brendan Rodgers has made numerous changes to his backroom staff

"I hope he stays. I think for his development as a player he has a fantastic manager to look after him, a great set of team-mates.

"I think it's important he plays week in week out, keeps trying to learn and strive to become a world-class player.

"I think the frustrating thing for me would be if he went to a club and became a squad player and just another number and he didn't have that chance to progress. That's the risk."

Gerrard's departure from Anfield, confirmed back in January, turned out to be the first of many with fellow players Glen Johnson and Brad Jones not offered new contracts and, following an end-of-season review, assistant manager Colin Pascoe and coach Mike Marsh also lost their jobs.

"I was very surprised. I didn't expect there to be any changes in the staff positions," added Gerrard.

"I think Brendan (Rodgers) and the bosses have made those decisions and I'm looking in with a keen interest to see who he puts alongside him and how he tries to improve or strengthen his staff moving forward.

"A lot of names have been mentioned but I can't give you any insight or names because I'm now on the outside and don't have that relationship with Brendan any more where I might have got a bit of a nudge on it.

"I think Brendan will obviously have felt he needed to make some changes and freshen certain things up in his staff.

"I am very interested to see who he puts in alongside him and also to hear Brendan speak in a press conference to see why he has decided to make those decisions."

Former Reds assistant manager Pako Ayestaran, ex-defender Sami Hyypia and one-time Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen have all been linked with the posts.

The position of Rodgers remains safe following his review with chairman Tom Werner and Mike Gordon - president of club owners Fenway Sports Group - but he has been left in no doubt improvements have to be made after last season's sixth-place finish.

Additional reporting from PA

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