Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hopes a heart to heart with Raheem Sterling will help convince the winger his future is at Anfield before reiterating that the England international won’t be sold in the summer.
Rodgers has repeatedly stated that Sterling – who has admitted that he rejected a new £100,000 a week contract – won’t be leaving Merseyside at the end of the season.
The 20-year-old has caused controversy after footage was released in April of him appearing to inhale the legal high nitrous oxide and then pass out, and images of the England international holding a shisha pipe alongside Reds team-mate Jordon Ibe subsequently emerged.
That was the second time in a matter of days that photographs of Sterling with a shisha pipe had appeared, with a Sunday newspaper also publishing pictures of him allegedly smoking from the instrument.
Rodgers says he has given advice to Sterling. “I think he looks a lot more relaxed now than he has done for a while,” he told national newspapers.
“He looks comfortable in himself again. We had a couple of good meetings. He came to my house and had a good chat on a personal level as well.
“It’s not just about the football side, it’s also about his welfare because he’s still young and he’s been through a lot in the last couple of years. So I talked to him generically and I think he’s in a good place at the moment.
“I do it with some when the moment’s right. We had a good chat and it was about making himself comfortable.
“It’s not just football; it’s parenting as well, helping him and making sure everything is alright outside of his football. Raheem won’t be going anywhere this summer, even if there’s not a deal agreed.
“We’ve made that clear from the beginning – and the owners are very much supportive of that – and the club will meet up again with Raheem’s representatives and reinforce it.
“This is the best club for him at this moment where he’s got the opportunity to play and to fight and be competitive.”