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Sports

Rodgers confirms Sterling to leave Liverpool

media Raheem Sterling will swap the red of Liverpool for the blue of Manchester … Reuters/Lee Smith

Raheem Sterling will leave Anfield, the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed on Monday. It's the club's second high profile defection in as many years. At the end of the 2014 season the Uruguay striker Luis Suarez left for Barcelona. Sterling is likely to stay in England.

More than five decades ago four of Liverpool's most famous sons sang about the joys of generosity in their song Can't Buy Me Love.

Back in 1964 when the tune first hit the record shops, the Beatles were on the rise.

Two years ago there was love in abundance for a young footballer who was setting the red half of the city ablaze with his dazzling skills. Raheem Sterling was twisting the blood of many a defender with his trickery and pace.

In front of him were quicksilver forwards Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. Liverpool pulverised teams and finished the 2013/2014 season in second place two points behind the champions Manchester City.

Big things were expected of Sterling and Liverpool for the following season.

But Suarez left for the playing fields of Barcelona and Sturridge was ultimately diminished by a series of injuries.

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From operating in a pressure free environment, Sterling became the main man as Liverpool tried to maintain the glories of that 2013/14 season.

It didn't happen.

They were eliminated from the Uefa Champions League after the group stages and their assault on the Premier League waned. It was evident that Suarez's guile and goals had been the driving force.

What seemed unthinkable in those heady days of 2013, became reality on Monday. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Sterling would be sold.

Speaking just after Liverpool had arrived in Thailand on the first stage of a three country preseason tour, Rodgers refused to divulge where Sterling would next play.

However Manchester City's Etihad Stadium seemed to be the most likely destination. The team deposed last season as champions had already made two bids for the 20-year-old

The fee of 68 million euros is a record figure for a transfer within the English Premier League. It now all depends on whether Sterling passes a fitness test.

"The club has agreed with another club a deal for him to be transferred. Subject to a medical that will go through," Rodgers said.

Sterling's sale has become a rather tawdry affair.

His refusal to commit to Liverpool angered the club's supporters who jeered him at an end-of-season awards dinner in May.

It was unsurprising. His love for money appeared to be guiding his decisions.

In January he turned down a new contract worth 140,000 euros per week.

In February, Rodgers said Sterling had been offered an "incredible deal".

And, as the 2014/15 season drew to a close, in a TV interview Sterling confirmed he had rejected offers from the club.

The relationship with Rodgers, the man who nurtured him from academy prospect to full-blown first team star and England international, had apparently soured.

But Rodgers denied any kind of deterioration.

"Contrary to what was written, Raheem and I have always remained very strong in our relationship and have been right up until we left. So there's no issue there," he said.

Sterling had been named in the 30-man squad for the tour of Thailand, Malaysia and Australia but he wasn't on the plane when the team left on Sunday.

Whatever comes next in the life of Raheem Shaquille Sterling, the annals will show that he joined Liverpool from QPR's academy in 2010 and scored 23 goals in 129 senior appearances for the club.

While a Liverpool player he made his senior England debut and scored one goal in 16 appearances.

Young Sterling's name has gone into the record books courtesy of City's money men.

For him now to be of service.

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