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Reds round-up: Sturridge signs long-term Liverpool contract

Liverpool fans may feel they have had little to cheer about so far this season, but all that looks set to change, as Brendan Rodgers puts plans in place to secure their present and future.

The Reds have tied prolific striker Daniel Sturridge to a long-term deal at Anfield, with a five-year contract keeping him at the club until 2019.

Birmingham-born Sturridge joined Liverpool from Chelsea in 2013, after also spending time with Manchester City. Unable to play regularly with either of the Premier League big spenders, the talented attacker seems to have finally found his home with Rodgers’ Reds.

This new deal will reportedly make the 25-year-old England international one of the highest earners at the northwest club, but it was essential to lock down Sturridge following former strike partner Luis Suarez’s departure.

The Three Lions forward is now the main man up front and, despite netting 24 times in all competitions last term, more is expected, as Liverpool struggle to hit the dizzying heights of the previous campaign.

New attacking additions Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Lazar Markovic have not yet settled, so fans are eagerly awaiting the return of sidelined Sturridge, who had already been on target for Liverpool before his untimely injury.

Speaking after signing the new contract, Sturridge stated: “It feels great. It’s a big day in my life to commit to this club and to give the club my best years, which are ahead of me.

“There are a lot of things I’m happy with, and how they’ve gone so far, but there is a lot to come. I’ve not shown yet what I can do – what I’m doing is just the start for me.”

With the present, and five years into the future, wrapped up, Rodgers is also reportedly keen to snap up more potential Reds stars. The former Swansea City coach has clearly been keen on youth since his arrival, with Raheem Sterling just one shining example of his commitment to nurturing young players.

As Coral previously reported, Liverpool have had a long-standing interest in MK Dons 18-year-old midfield maestro Dele Alli and were leading the queue to acquire his services.

Now the Reds have supposedly upped the ante and sanctioned an £8m spend to snare the top prospect. Despite recently signing a new deal with the Dons, rumours are circulating that a fee has now been agreed, and the transfer will go through as soon as the winter window opens.

It appears Alli would spend the rest of the season on loan with his current club, with Liverpool reportedly in no rush to fast track him into the first team or place him in the reserves.

Rodgers is also supposedly closing in on 19-year-old Lazio goal-getter Keita Balde Diao. The Spain-born striker of Senegalese descent began his youth career with Barcelona before, being plucked away by the Italian capital club in 2011.

Highly-rated Diao is just beginning to break into Lazio’s first-team, but Liverpool are already keen to snatch the young starlet before his price rockets. A mooted fee of around £15m has been quoted, but interest from Arsenal could still derail the Reds’ transfer attempts.