Brendan Rodgers says his praise of Raheem Sterling should not be used ‘as a stick to beat’ Liverpool with during contract negotiations.
The 20-year-old has put talks on hold until the end of the season, with reports suggesting he and his agent have rejected the Reds ‘incredible’ offer of £100,000 a week.
Rodgers described Sterling as the best young player in Europe last season, and that has been used as a tool in negotiations to suggest the forward is worth closer to £150,000 a week.
“It would be disappointing if an honest opinion on a player at the moment you are asked is used as a stick to beat you with. But it doesn’t surprise me, it is the modern world,” Rodgers said.
“It is what happens. I will always talk well of my players when they are doing well. I think it gives them great encouragement and I won’t tell any different to you guys that I will say to their face.
“Last year I said at that moment in time I am not sure there is a better young player in Europe. Everyone sat back and looked at me but when they went away, looked at it and analysed the young players who are playing in Europe and in particular teenagers there were hardly any.
“He was certainly at that time one of the top ones, but I didn’t say he was the best young player overall in Europe. I think he is one of a number of top ones. But if they want to blame me, they can blame me.
“I still think Raheem has a lot of development to go and this is the best place for him. It is pretty obvious that this is a great place for him to be and he has said that himself.”