• Liverpool remain confident of professional contract for teenager
• Raheem Sterling has yet to receive formal offer
Liverpool insist they are confident of securing Raheem Sterling on a long-term contract at Anfield despite not agreeing terms on his first professional deal.
The talented winger is eligible to sign the first senior deal of a career that has already brought full England honours when he turns 18 on 8 December. Further contract talks took place between Liverpool's managing director, Ian Ayre, and the 17‑year‑old's representatives this week but, with only 10 days before his 18th birthday, Sterling has yet to receive a formal offer from the club.
Liverpool claim to be unperturbed at the absence of an agreement, though Manchester City and Chelsea – now managed by Rafael Benítez, who was in charge at Anfield when Sterling signed from Queens Park Rangers for an initial £500,000 – are known to be monitoring the situation.
Sterling is still on the same terms he agreed when moving to Merseyside in May 2010. His rapid development into a key figure for Brendan Rodgers this season, and his first senior England cap against Sweden this month, are believed to be factors in negotiations with the player's representatives.
Rodgers has stated repeatedly that the Jamaican-born winger will commit to a new deal at Anfield and Liverpool are also confident Sterling wishes to stay with the club that has given him 14 Premier League starts. Liverpool have refused to give an explanation for the impasse but believe a breakthrough will be made when talks resume. A club source said: "Negotiations continue to be constructive but we are not prepared to go into any specifics and we do not think this is best served through the media."