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Sterling Stalling On New Contract?

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Reports indicate that Raheem Sterling has turned down a contract offer from Liverpool and that the two sides are some ways apart on a deal.

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Despite having just turned 20 years old, Raheem Sterling is already about ready to make his 100th Liverpool appearance. Considering his value to the club so far in his young career and the extreme talent and upside Sterling has displayed, Liverpool obviously want to make sure they keep him locked up contractually for as long as they can. With clubs like Real Madrid reportedly sniffing around in interest of getting their hands on Sterling, getting the young winger tied down to a new deal as soon as possible it vital.

Liverpool have been trying to do just that, working with Sterling on a new contract to replace the £30,000 per week deal he signed a year ago. That contract runs for two more seasons past the end of this one, but with Sterling's performances clearly outstriping the wage value in the deal, Liverpool want to sign him to a longer-term deal that includes more appropriate wages.

Apparently Liverpool have already offered a new contract in the £70,000 per week range, something not wildly out of line with how he's performed so far. According to reports, however, Sterling and his representatives have rejected the deal, feeling it nowhere near an acceptable wage.

That leaves Liverpool in a difficult place. With Financial Fair Play playing a factor both in Europe and in England, they might not be able to afford to offer Sterling much more than that, especially after losing out on the extra income playing in the Champions League knockout rounds could offer them. What Liverpool can even less afford, though, is to lose Sterling because he's unhappy with his contract.

Finding a middle ground in these negotiations has to become a top priority for Liverpool's front office staff. Despite suffering from long stretches of fatigue, Sterling has been one of this season's few bright lights. Keeping him happy is vital, and keeping him at Anfield is even moreso. For the love of Fowler, Liverpool, do not screw this up.