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Reports: Raheem Sterling Close to Signing Five-Year Extension

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After two days filled with mixed emotions about the departure of Steven Gerrard, Liverpool are reportedly set to announce some positive news by the end of January with a contract extension for Raheem Sterling nearing completion.

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After losing Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge to long-term injury, Brendan Rodgers' squad have found goals far more difficult to come by than they did a season ago. Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli arrived in the summer as back-up plans, with the latter close to the first-team thinking in a partnership with Sturridge, but neither have delivered with any sort of consistency, and the back-and-forth treatment of Fabio Borini has gleaned few positives for player or club.

It has led to Rodgers turning to alternative options in attack, with Raheem Sterling, who just turned 20 years old last month, now leading a front three supported by the creativity of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana. Sterling is far from polished as a number nine, with his finishing leaving plenty to be desired, but he's worked hard in the role, and with the club backed into a corner with Sturridge's injury and the summer signings failing to pan out, there can't be any disappointment with the young forward.

Even before the shifting in his role, the second significant change in his young career after he was brought centrally last season to play at the tip of a midfield diamond, the club were reportedly working to finalize a contract extension, and now it looks as though they will finally do so by the end of January. The Telegraph, Times, and Liverpool Echoall reporting that Liverpool are confident they'll enter the month of February with a five-year extension sealed.

Little surprise that the deal will include a wage bump, with the Telegraph stating that the parties have "met in the middle" between wages of £70,000 to £120,000 per week. That is a huge increase regardless of where they settle, but with Sterling cementing his place as the club's most important attacking player in the absence of Suarez and Sturridge--and Real Madrid and Bayern Munich reportedly interested--it was always going to take something notable.

Hopefully the deal gets done as comfortably as reports suggest, as supporters could use some good news about the future given that such an important part of their past will soon be gone.