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Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling relishing Reds central role

Liverpool, odds-on 4/7 with Coral for a top six finish, are set to tie down Raheem Sterling to a new bumper contract after the Englishman’s superb showings this season.

The 20-year-old is involved in on-going negotiations over a new contract, with his current deal set to expire in June 2017.

Rumours of Spanish giants Real Madrid circling for the rampant Red has forced Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to quickly try and confirm his star man’s long-term future.

Former QPR youth player Sterling joined the Anfield outfit in 2010 for just £500k, but has experienced a spectacular rise to prominence in the last two seasons, currently relishing his latest central role for Rodgers’ Reds.

The in-form forward is the latest player on a long list to have moved from a wide position into a more central role, with his team reaping the rewards for such a switch. Past stars to have made a central swap include Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo and Galactico Gareth Bale.

Bale, now of Madrid, moved from the wing during a sensational final season with Tottenham and rapidly made an instant impact for his side. Sterling has had similar success deputising from the middle, but he has a long way to go before emulating the Welsh wizard’s individual accomplishments.

After losing Luis Suarez last summer, and Daniel Sturridge having missed a huge proportion of this term through injury, super Sterling has taken his place as Anfield’s new star, playing a vital role in his side’s reverse in recent form.

Before the New Year, Liverpool had slipped into mid-table obscurity, after losing three games on the bounce against Newcastle United, Chelsea and Crystal Palace. However, thanks to dazzling displays from the England international, the Reds have turned around their campaign and are now pushing for European places again.

Sterling has been at the forefront of that movement, netting four goals in his last eight outings in all competitions, including a sensational solo effort against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in their recent Capital One Cup semi-final first leg encounter.

Liverpool’s young star showed skill and precision reminiscent to that of former Anfield striker Michael Owen, sweeping past a hapless Blues defence and finishing effortlessly into the bottom corner of Petr Cech’s net.

Despite his recent fantastic form, Sterling was unable to earn his side a victory over Bolton Wanderers in their FA Cup fourth round match-up as Neil Lennon’s men held the Reds to a goalless stalemate. The astounding attacker has been regularly making his mark on games against England’s top teams, but against sides lower down the ranks Sterling has struggled to make the same incredible impact, showing a possible lack of motivation for clashes with lesser opposition.

However, at just 20, the England winger has embraced the responsibility of being thrust into his side’s central attacking position, thriving in the absence of a competent centre forward.

When Liverpool’s form dipped dramatically at the beginning of the current campaign, Sterling offered a glimmering spark of hope, and Rodgers will hope to secure his signature as he becomes a shining star on Merseyside.

The Reds are 11/2 to secure a Capital One Cup triumph this season.