Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insisted contract rebel Raheem Sterling will not be distracted in the controversy surrounding his future, while he admitted Mario Balotelli may still be unavailable for their game against Newcastle on Monday.
During the Reds’ new kit launch in the week, Sterling was subject to abuse by a section of supporters, though Rodgers believes the ongoing saga will not affect his performances.
Quoted in The Express he said, “I am here to talk football and his football performance on Wednesday was outstanding.
“He is a strong character as a kid and loves playing here.”
Italian striker Mario Balotelli, on the other hand, is likely to be missing from the squad after he was absent from the Blackburn game with illness – posting a picture to his Instagram account with a thermometer and his temperature, to dispell any doubts over his condition.
As a result of this illness, he is possible to miss the game against Newcastle on Monday, which they surely must win to have any chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
“Not at this point, we will assess that over the next couple of days,” Rodgers added.
“He was injured against Arsenal and was ill in midweek and continues to be.”
Despite Balotelli’s injury worries, Liverpool fans and management alike will be pleased with the boost of Jordan Ibe’s return, after a six week absence, though Adam Lallana will be missing with a groin injury.
Rodgers said, “Jordon will be back for Newcastle and he has looked sensational in training.”