With his status in Liverpool still a hot topic, embattled swinger Raheem Sterling suited up for the Reds against Arsenal this Saturday.
Sterling started for the team amid the controversy over his stalled contract talks. The young striker jhas earlier said that his contract negotiations are on hold until after the end of the current season after he and Liverpool failed to come to an agreement over compensation.
However, manager Brendan Rodgers says that he is still confident that the young player will be able to find his way back to the team.
The controversy surrounding Sterling and his contract negotiation woes were fanned anew this week after former Liverpool striker Michael Owen criticized the winger for holding an unsanctioned interview regarding his contract issues. The interview, conducted by BBC, has Sterling defending himself against accusations that he was a “money grabber” after rejecting a £100,000-a-week offer from Liverpool.
Owen accused Sterling and his agent Aidy Ward of trying to play up the winger’s situation to get sympathy for his case. “We saw further evidence that Sterling isn’t a natural in front of the camera,” the former player said in an interview. “That’s not a huge issue in itself but it does beg an obvious question: Why on earth did his advisor consent to exposing his client to a situation that he doesn’t feel comfortable in while discussing arguably the hottest current topic in English football?”
“Unless he was going to announce that he was signing a new contract imminently, he was on a hiding to nothing,” Owen further stressed. “Every Liverpool fan was hanging on his every word and if there were a few willing to sympathise with him a week ago, there won’t be many who do now.”
Sterling playing in this Saturday’s match came in as a welcomed boost after forward Daniel Sturridge was benched while still recovering from an injury, and with Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel still on suspension.