Who wants another opportunity to discuss and reflect on Raheem Sterling's future at the club? Good. Robbie Fowler spoke about the player's future at Merseyside's finest and thinks there's a way back for everyone's favourite contract rebel scamp. Manchester City's second final bid will not secure the services of Liverpool's Golden Boy as it does not meet the club's £50 million valuation, but can anyone connected with the club assess Sterling's situation objectively? If Raheem Sterling was your relative or close friend, what would you advise him to do? Fowler believes Sterling should remain at a club that will provide a young player in his position certain developmental opportunities.
It's obvious Raheem has been confused by what's happened over the last few months, but I still believe the right thing for his development is to stay, and I hope for his sake he can somehow see that. I still think there is time to back away from this. These things seem to get a momentum and you think you have no options, but if he were to take a step back and find a way of staying at Liverpool, I think the fans would embrace that. I'm not having a go at him, he's a kid and when things like this happen it can scramble your brain, but I'm saying that he can still stay at Liverpool - even now - and it's the best place for him. He'd be crazy to go at this stage in his development, surely he can see how much the manager has got out of him already, and can develop him even more? One of things you have to think about as a young player is which managers have a track record of developing emerging talent. [Liverpool manager] Brendan Rodgers has proved he has, but have City shown any capacity to do that?
Fowler did go on to acknowledge that every player has to do the best they can for their respective careers. As a former professional who was a star in his early twenties before injuries dulled his enormous predatory talents, the former Liverpool number nine knows that professional footballers generally have a short career. He concluded that it would be best for Sterling to stay "a bit longer" at Anfield, but I think we have to consider that maybe the best years of Sterling's career will be in his early twenties. Perhaps it will transpire that Sterling was best served remaining at Liverpool before moving on as he turns 23 or 24.
Liverpool would be stronger moving forward with a fully-focused and committed Raheem Sterling, but a move to Manchester City may provide the 20-year-old with an opportunity to play as he did in 2013/14. David Silva and Sergio Agüero could draw the attention of defenders like Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suárez did in Liverpool's surprise title challenge. Of course, a couple of key signings along with a return to the 18 month period between January 2013 and last summer could be exactly what Sterling needs at his current club.
There is a way back for a special talent, one who has been subject to quite hilarious revisionist assessments from Liverpool fans. While it is true that Sterling and his agent may have handled matters poorly over the past few months, the player's ability and potential hasn't suddenly eroded. It seems unlikely that Sterling will face Stoke City in August, but Liverpool's asking price isn't one that will be easily met by any interested clubs. Manchester City may have made two early bids but will need to push higher and further to secure one of Europe's brightest youngsters.