Brendan Rodgers insists there was no rift with "wonderful young kid" Raheem Sterling and says Liverpool should be proud of their part in his development.
Speaking at a press conference in Brisbane ahead of Liverpool’s next pre-season friendly, Rodgers revealed that he and Sterling had recently exchanged texts and that rumors of a rift between the two were false.
"There were lots of reports about him and I not speaking, and falling out and that’s never been further than the truth," said Rodgers.
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"This is a kid I put into the team at 17 years of age. A wonderful talent and from that point on, him and I worked together very closely. There was obviously stories going about towards the end but it’s done with now.
"We were texting each other yesterday. Our communication is fine. We had a long chat about his journey before we left on the Sunday in the office. I thought by the time we got back he would probably be gone. He was a wonderful young kid for me."
Rodgers handed Sterling his first competitive start at the beginning of the 2012/13 season. The Jamaican-born England international would go on to make 123 appearances and score 29 goals for the Reds.
"We can all hold our heads up high at Liverpool knowing that we put absolutely everything into him and his development," said Rodgers.
"He came out of the youth team and became a fully-fledged international footballer.
"The supporters gave him all the support and nurtured him through. He decided to move on. Now he’s a Manchester City player and we’ll focus on the players we have here."
Sterling is the third high-profile departure from Anfield in the last two seasons, leading some to question the club’s ability to attract and retain top-quality players.
"Players are always going to be wanting to come to Liverpool," said Rodgers.
"It’s such an iconic club. In the modern game and with the market now players will move on. Unfortunately, it’s something you have to accept. You have to fight.
"As long as you do everything you possibly can to keep the player, that’s all you can ever do. If the player moves on you thank him for his contribution and look to develop and improve the next player that comes in.
"You can’t deny the size of Liverpool as a football club. The challenge for us is to get it back among the top clubs in this division."