Raheem Sterling has asked to be left out of Liverpool’s squad for their pre-season tour as he seeks to force a move to Manchester City.
Liverpool have already rejected two offers from City for Sterling, but Manuel Pellegrini’s side are shortly expected to return with a third bid which will be close to the Reds’ £50million ($77m) valuation of the England forward.
According to widespread newspaper reports, Sterling has held talks with Brendan Rodgers since returning to training on Monday to reiterate his desire to leave Anfield this summer and also ask to be left out of the squad that departs for Bangkok on Sunday for a tour of the Far East and Australia.
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However, Sterling is under contract at Liverpool for another two years and, although he has rejected the offer of a new deal, the Merseyside club are refusing to pander to the 20-year-old. Rodgers expects Sterling to travel and play in the team’s first friendly against Thailand All-Stars on Tuesday unless City make an acceptable offer before then.
Despite their tough stance, Liverpool are considering possible alternatives to Sterling, with Barcelona’s Pedro and Real Madrid’s Denis Cheryshev, who spent last season on loan at Villarreal, among the players said to be targets.