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Saturday 10 December 2016

Steven Gerrard: Raheem Sterling needs to stay at Anfield if he wants to play regularly

Brendan Rodgers, right, insists that the club won't sell Raheem Sterling, left
Brendan Rodgers, right, insists that the club won't sell Raheem Sterling, left

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard may be leaving in the summer but he still has a vested interest in his boyhood club's future and wants talented youngster Raheem Sterling to stay and the owners to invest in new talent.

The 34-year-old midfielder will lead his side out against Crystal Palace on Saturday for his final appearance at Anfield before joining Los Angeles Galaxy.

And while he may have earned his place as a permanent part of the Reds' history he is keen for his departure not to be the signal for another spell in the doldrums.

Gerrard believes keeping 20-year-old Sterling, who has turned down a £100,000-a-week contract, is important as is more investment by Fenway Sports Group, despite them splashing £120million last summer.

"My advice to Raheem is he needs a manager who is going to play him, to coach him, to believe in him. I think there is no one better for him than Brendan Rodgers," he said.

"I think he should sign a new deal. Brendan is a fantastic man manager, he puts a lot of time and effort into every player in the squad.

"The danger for younger players is they want it all too soon and go to another club and just become a number."

On what the club should do to replace his considerable presence when he moves to California, Gerrard added: "Every season, this club tries to add good quality players to challenge for the next season," he said.

"This season we have fallen a bit short but there is a fantastic core with huge potential.

"I am hoping the owners will back Brendan again and bring in that quality which will help us go that one step further next year.

"We have got close in two cup competitions and close to the top four and that is after losing arguably the best player in the world last year in Luis Suarez and also not having our star striker available all season in Daniel Sturridge.

"To come so close without those to I think we've done okay but next season we can go one better."

Saturday's match at Anfield will undoubtedly be emotional for Gerrard but he is trying to keep a lid on his feelings.

"I have been dreading this moment at the end of the game in a strange way because I am going to miss it so much, playing at Anfield. The aim is to stay strong and avoid a few tears," he said.

"I am not really one for attention. I feel a bit sorry for my team-mates. All the attention is on me but when the whistle goes it will be about getting the three points.

"I can only apologise if it has all been about me. I have never tried to grab any glory. From day one I have always tried to pull in the direction of the team."

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