Raheem Sterling does not deserve so much criticism, after motivation for leaving becomes apparent

Raheem Sterling has reportedly told Brendan Rodgers that not only does he not want to be selected for their pre-season tour of Asia and Australia, but he also wants to leave because he does not want to play under the Northern Irishman again.

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According to Sky Sports, the winger held a 25 minute meeting with the manager at the club’s Melwood training ground yesterday. And while Rodgers suggested that the 20-year-old would be offered more money if that would persuade him to stay, Sterling confirmed that cash was not the driving factor behind his desire to leave, but rather his relationship with the former Swansea boss.

Sky Sports suggest that the England international has told the manager that it would not be in anyone’s best interest for him to be part of the tour party that leaves on Sunday, as it will detract from the club’s new signings.

While Sterling continues to get a difficult time from Reds fans over the way he has conducted himself in recent months, this latest news suggests that his desire to leave is not motivated by how impressive his bank balance looks.

The fact that the Reds have spent £29m on Roberto Firmino (via BBC Sport), and £12.5m on Nathaniel Clyne (via BBC Sport), and have still been able to reject two bids from Manchester City for the winger (via Sky Sports) – with the most recent falling just £10m short of Liverpool’s valuation of £50m (via ESPN) – would suggest that Rodgers would have been able to offer Sterling whatever he wanted, had he named his price.

However, with the opportunity to hold the club to ransom, the attacker has still maintained that it is not the money that is drawing him away from Merseyside. When he first rejected a new deal – worth £100,000 a week (via BBC Sport) – he insisted that it was the prospect of winning trophies that had forced him to consider his options, according to BBC Sport.

While the Reds have made several high-profile signings, it is still the Citizens that stand a greater chance of genuinely competing for the Premier League crown, based on recent seasons. Plus, they can offer Champions League football, which is beyond the Merseyside club this year.

The way he has conducted himself in recent months is wrong, there is no question. The unsanctioned interview with the BBC (via Daily Mail), the leaked pictures of the player smoking a shisha pipe, and the reports today that he has phoned in sick for training (via Liverpool Echo), have done nothing for his reputation, and some Reds supporters may be hoping that City do match the club’s asking price so he can become a painful memory, rather than someone lurking in the background.

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