Following agent Aidy Ward’s comments in the London Evening Standard—comments the veracity of which Ward has since questioned—Liverpool have taken the step to cancel their planned meeting with the player and his agent on Friday. The talks had been arranged following earlier reports the player would push for a move this summer, with the club hoping to convince Sterling to change his mind—or, failing that, to make their position clear.
That position was believed to be that they had no intention of selling Sterling this summer, that as in the case of Luis Suarez when he first asked for a move away they intended to hold Sterling to his contract, and that if Sterling wanted a move he would have to earn it through his play just as Suarez did with his eventual move to Barcelona. According to journalists with sources within the club, their position remains unchanged despite Ward’s inflammatory interview with the Evening Standard.
The club’s intention, short of the arrival of a massive offer they couldn't say no to, was always not to sell Sterling this summer, with his low wages and the promise of protection thanks to arbitrated training compensation should he run down his contract giving them leverage. Rather than convincing the club to change their minds, Ward’s comments—accurate or not—appear to have had the opposite effect, leaving the club determined not to be seen to be pushed around by a 20-year-old prospect.
For all Sterling’s promise, that his agent appears certain he can start regularly for one of the world’s top clubs and that the likes of Chelsea or Manchester City will pay an outsized transfer fee for him no matter how toxic an asset he becomes could be a potentially fatal misreading of the situation. As yet, there is no word on if the club still plan on including Sterling in the squad for Sunday’s match against Stoke or if they will seek to punish the player for his agent’s inflammatory actions.