Raheem Sterling was playing for Liverpool and England but still on £2,000 per week, a relative pittance in football terms.
Our former boss Brendan Rodgers, who gave the winger his first opportunity, has stated that he kept Sterling’s wage low in an attempt to keep his feet on the ground.
As the player’s form and stock rose though, by November of the 2012/13 campaign, Rodgers had no choice but to improve his contract to something that befitted his ability a little better.
“There is one common denominator when it comes to young players falling by the wayside – money,” Rodgers told the Express.
“It distorts reality. It changes people. I’m always cautious of that.
“I had Raheem Sterling playing for England and a regular in the Liverpool first team on £2000 per week.
“I couldn’t do it any longer than about the November time because he was absolutely brilliant, so we had to get him on a different contract.
“But I stretched it out as long as I could.
“With young players, one, they have to earn it and, two, you don’t go overboard with them because they have played a couple of good games.
“Stay calm. See how consistent and professional they are, and if they are doing well they will always get rewarded.
“Let them get some games in their legs and go from there.”
If Rodgers perhaps hadn’t ‘stretched’ out Sterling’s next extension, he might still be a Liverpool player.
The club didn’t improve Sterling’s terms after the 2013/14 campaign, in which he played a vital role – and by the time we eventually got round to it – the player and his agent Aidy Ward had decided they wouldn’t be putting pen to paper.
As a result, Sterling was sold to Manchester City, although later admitted things might have been different if Jurgen Klopp had been appointed earlier.
It’s a shame, as he’s exactly the kind of devastating, direct player who’d benefit Klopp’s offensive system.
We’re not sure he can play centre-back, though!