London: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has called on young striker Raheem Sterling to continue his impressive development by staying hungry and remaining at the Anfield.
Sterling, whose contract expires in 2017, has so far turned down Liverpool’s opening offer of an extended, improved deal, reports telegraph.co.uk.
“I hope he signs a new contract at the club because I think this club is perfect for him, certainly for the next few years,” Gerrard said Thursday after Sterling scored twice in Liverpool’s 3-1 Capital One Cup win over Bournemouth.
“He’s going to play most weeks, the fans love him here. He can progress here and become a top, top player here so I hope the people around him give him the right advice because he should stay here.”
A deal is expected, partly because Liverpool cannot afford to lose their best player and also because Sterling knows he will play regularly under Brendan Rodgers.
It is now down to Liverpool whether they increase the offer of a basic Â£70,000 a week (with handsome incentives for progress in the Premier League and Champions League).
Sterling’s worth to the club was highlighted by his match-winning contribution at Dean Court, setting up a semi-final against Chelsea.
“He’s great to watch, great to play with, he’s got that pace. When you look up he’s always giving you an option and that’s what I’ve thrived on throughout my career at Liverpool with the likes of Fernando Torres, Michael Owen, the central mid-fielder.
“There’s nothing better as a mid-fielder when you look up and see teammates running behind opposing defenders. I saw it on numerous occasions (against Bournemouth) and hopefully it will continue because it stretches teams and creates chances.”
The 20-year-old Sterling has shown admirable versatility for Rodgers in 2014, having played on the left, the right and as a lone striker upfront.
“You’ve got to be able to have that (versatility) in your locker if you want to be (a) top drawer. Raheem’s got the potential for sure,” added the 34-year-old Gerrard.
“The exciting thing for all of us is that he’s English and going to be a top, top player. He’s got to keep learning, he’s got to keep wanting it.”