LIVERPOOL, England _ Raheem Sterling‘s decision to go public about his contract dispute with Liverpool was questioned on Thursday by manager Brendan Rodgers, who underlined the club’s intention to keep hold of its top young player.
Sterling gave an unsanctioned interview to the BBC on Wednesday, saying he had turned down a new contract worth 100,000 pounds ($150,000) a week and that he would not be discussing extending his deal until the end of the season _ no matter how much money Liverpool offered.
Rodgers said Sterling “surprised us all” by revealing details about negotiations.
“He is a young player who is still learning on and off the pitch and sometimes you will make mistakes as a youngster,” Rodgers said of Sterling, one of English football’s star players.
“Our relationship is strong, which is important. He knows I am working in the best interests of the club and him. He will learn as time goes on, like we all do, you make mistakes in life.”
Sterling’s current contract with Liverpool runs until the summer of 2017 and Rodgers said the 20-year-old player “isn’t going anywhere.”
“Liverpool are one of the superpowers of football and the owners have made it clear _ and we’ve seen it before _ that money does not come into it,” Rodgers said. “The club is not going to sell. And if it doesn’t want to sell, it won’t sell _ it is simple as that. Money has never been the objective for the club.”
Rodgers added that Sterling’s contract situation “is not something we are overly concerned on and I am confident by the end of the season we will find the solution.”
Sterling said in the BBC interview that his motivation was winning trophies, not earning money, and that he would have signed a new deal last summer after Liverpool finished second in the Premier League.
Liverpool is currently fifth in the league, and struggling to qualify for the Champions League. The five-time European champions have only won one trophy _ the League Cup in 2012 _ since 2006.