It was, perhaps, inevitable. When contract extension talks with Raheem Sterling stalled seemingly over issues with his agent, transfer rumors started popping up involving a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, either in this transfer window or the next. The logic seemed to be little more than "young star-level player, gotta go to Madrd," but that didn't mean it wasn't getting repeated loudly and often.
Fortunately for Liverpool, it turns out there was no truth to those particular rumors. Real assistant Paul Clement took the extra step to not just deny the reports, but even to point out how painfully obvious the rumors were. "Real Madrid are always going to be linked with some of the best players and also some of the best emerging young talents," he told the Spanish press while answering pre-match questions for an absent Carlo Ancelotti.
"My understanding at the moment is that the club and manager’s very happy with squad of players - we haven’t got a big squad. But it is a squad packed with quality and there are no current plans for ins and outs."
Such a move was always going to be a stretch; it didn't make sense for either Madrid or Sterling to bring the young winger in to a very tightly packed attacking group that is so loaded with premium talent even he would have a hard time finding regular minutes. The only world in which such a move makes sense is one in which Gareth Bale is no longer with Madrid, and considering all the rumors this month of him moving to Manchester United at some point, we might not that world to exist any time soon.
In the meantime, though, all we have to do is wait for Sterling's new contract to be signed. Hurry up and get it done, guys. We need to fend off the vultures.