Losing one would be bad. Two would be awful. Three would be cataclysmic.
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Liverpool transfer news
Manchester City are reportedly chasing the signings of Liverpool trio Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho ahead of the summer transfer window, with the Daily Star claiming that the European Champions are set for a huge spending spree.
All three players have been integral for the Reds this term but Sterling and Henderson would be particularly likely to leave should Brendan Rodgers’ side miss out on a Champions League place. Coutinho extended his Reds deal as recently as February, but neither Sterling nor Henderson have been able to agree terms on extensions – with Sterling confirming to the BBC he has turned down £100,000 per week, and Henderson having just a year remaining on his deal after this season. With the top four now looking a near impossibility, the Merseyside giants are facing a huge task to keep them.
Back-to-back Premier League defeats against Manchester United and Arsenal have left the Reds seven points adrift of fourth place City, who have plenty of problems of their own following their latest defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace.
Rodgers will be desperate to keep hold of all three players. Sterling, 20, was voted the best young player on the planet in 2014 but the aforementioned contract dispute – all played out in the public eye – has hardly endeared him to the Reds fanbase.
Henderson, whose contract expires at the end of next season, is expected to replace Steven Gerrard as the club’s captain later this year, when the long-serving No. 8 leaves for the MLS and LA Galaxy.
Coutinho, 22, has been arguably the Reds’ stand-out performer so far this season, scoring crucial goals in both the Premier League and FA Cup, including the winner in last night’s quarter-final replay against Blackburn Rovers.
City are in desperate need for English players to boost their home-grown quota and Sterling and Henderson would help fulfil that. While the Star fails to quote a price for either player, they believe that Coutinho could be available for around £20m.
Rodgers has endured a testing season – coming close to the sack on at least one occasion, according to reports – but his toughest test is seemingly still to come. If the Reds lose the three players their team is effectively built around, it’s hard to seem them recovering.
The Northern Irishman’s job looks to be safe for the rest of the campaign following their progression to the FA Cup semi-final, but for the Reds fans losing their top stars could be more hurtful than finish fifth and not taking home any silverware.
If Rodgers fails to protects his stars, either by offering them the deals they want or by proving that the club can match their ambitions, then he could well find himself out of a job come the start of next season.