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The future’s bright. The future’s Liverpool…if Sterling signs

| 26.02.2015

Liverpool’s contract cat-and-mouse with Raheem Sterling took a step closer to concluding favourably for the Reds ahead of the club’s Europa League round-of-32,second leg against Besiktas.

The 20-year-old Liverpool forward, who is 2/1 to score anytime in Turkey, dropped a huge hint he’s close to penning a fresh deal by heaping praise on the club and manager Brendan Rodgers’ youth policy.

“I don’t think there is a better place for young lads than Liverpool at this moment in time,” said Sterling. “The manager has blooded a lot of young players like myself and Jordon (Ibe).

“Every young player is getting a chance when they show they are working hard on the training pitch and that is credit to the manager for giving them the chance to shine at the highest level,” he added.

The English side hold a vital 1-0 lead over their Turkish counterparts as they head to the scene of their greatest cup triumph in Instanbul and despite a string of missing senior players for the trip, Liverpool are fancied to the tune of 1/5 to qualify by Ladbrokes.

Steven Gerrard, Lucas, Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Sakho, Philippe Coutinho and Glen Johnson are all omitted from the squad through injury or illness.

However, as Sterling has intimated, Rodgers has stayed true to form by calling up no fewer than five youth teams players to gain the experience of joining up with the first-team squad.

Should Liverpool find themselves in a comfortable position in the tie it would be no big surprise to see one or two even cross the white line against Besiktas.

But it’s not just the host of starry-eyed teenagers who’ve travelled which bodes well for the future at Liverpool, especially with Anfield’s redevelopment underway.

Of those already well-exposed to first-team action at Liverpool, Sterling features prominently in a long list of 25-and-under players including Henderson, Coutinho, Ibe, Sakho, Joe Allen, Alberto Moreno, Lazar Markovic, Daniel Sturridge, Mario Balotelli and Jon Flanagan.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.