RAHEEM Sterling may be laughing all the way to Manchester City but Brendan Rodgers is not allowing the circus surrounding his hottest ticket to deflect him from his work in the transfer market.
And if Rodgers pulls off something of a coup by signing Nathaniel Clyne from Southampton, talk of Liverpool's dramatic decline may well be premature.
Sterling's latest alleged experience with 'hippy crack' in Ibiza comes after Liverpool rejected a second bid from Manchester City of £40m and it is clear that owner John W Henry is intent in squeezing as much as he can out of any deal.
In the meantime, Rodgers is pushing forward with a bargain bucket but shrewd effort to inject some new life into his squad. Speculation suggests that he will have to improve on Liverpool's initial £10m bid by half as much again but that a deal may be imminent.
Southampton have offered Clyne a contract deal but are planning for a future without him after signing Portuguese defender Cedric Soares from Sporting Lisbon yesterday.
Rodgers has already agreed free moves for James Milner and Artur Bogdan and an independent panel will fix a fee for Danny Ings which is expected to be about £5m.
Liverpool completed a deal thought to be close to £4m for Charlton teenage defender Joe Gomez and Anfield has also announced that Martin Skrtel has turned down Inter Milan to sign a new three-year deal. SEE PAGES 2-3