• Premier League

Rodgers expects Sterling deal in 24 hours, coy on Ince

ESPN staff
December 20, 2012
Raheem Sterling could soon be playing on the opposite flank to Tom Ince at Liverpool © Getty Images

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Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling will sign a new Liverpool contract within 24 hours, and he was also intriguingly coy over the future of Blackpool star Tom Ince.

Sterling's contract negotiations at Anfield have been dragging on for some time, sparking fears he could join either Arsenal or Manchester United. However, Rodgers predicts the 18-year-old will have ended the saga before the weekend.

"Hopefully that will be concluded within the next 24 hours," Rodgers said on Liverpool's official website. "I have said before that there was never a real issue, it was just a matter of timing and we hope that over the next couple of days that can be complete.

"We were always calm. I speak a lot with Raheem and his representatives and there has never been any issues from their side. It was just making sure that we take care in terms of the financial and football plan for the player.

"This was about a young player who has rocketed from playing in the youth teams and the reserves into becoming a full England international, so a lot has happened in his young life and it was just about making sure that there was that protection for him going forward.

"I have always been confident that this was going to be the best place for him. The kid is very focused and devoted to Liverpool. His representatives know this is the best place for him."

Rodgers was decidedly secretive when talk turned to the subject of a reported £4 million capture of former Liverpool Academy player Ince, who is expected to re-join the Reds in January.

He began by telling the media at Thursday's press conference: "At this moment in time, there's nothing to speak about."

But it was then put to the Liverpool boss that Blackpool had revealed a bid. "Do Blackpool say who made the bid?" Rodgers asked.

The reporter in question informed Rodgers that Liverpool had been named, at which point Rodgers smiled before saying: "I'm not sure. I'm just assessing the players we've got at the minute. If we can get talented young British players in that'd be fantastic.

"Negotiations take place above me and we'll conclude what we can as early as we can."

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