Just like Henderson; Manchester United and Arsenal target should stay at Anfield

It’s been a disappointing few months for Liverpool who have endured a poor run of form that has seen their Champions League hopes all but fade, and their dreams of an FA Cup final end at the semi-final stage.

And while the contract saga surrounding one of their brightest talents in Raheem Sterling has done little to help the club, at least there was some positive news last week when their vice captain Jordan Henderson committed his long term future to the Reds by signing a new deal.

The former Sunderland man has recovered from a tricky start to his Liverpool career to become a key part of their midfield, even more so in the absence of Steven Gerrard whose time at the club is coming to an end.

Speculation had been growing over the future of the 24-year-old who had been linked with a move to Manchester City, but he put swiftly put this to bed by signing a five deal that will keep him at Anfield until 2020; something that Sterling must now consider doing himself.

The 20-year-old put a host of Premier League clubs on standby after he recently turned down a new £100,000 a week contract and revealed he didn’t want to hold any discussions until the end of the season.

Criticised for appearing to turn his nose at such a high amount of money, his decision may well have been based on his desire to play in the Champions League, and at this moment in time it doesn’t look like Liverpool will be able to offer him that privilege.

But although they look set to miss out on the top four, Sterling; who has two years remaining on his current deal, should take a look at Henderson and follow suit for the benefit of his career.

He may not feel he is at a club that guarantee him trophies or even Champions League football, but at this young age the main thing for him is playing regular football. And it’s not as if Liverpool aren’t a big club.

At this point in his career money shouldn’t be a deciding factor on where he plays his football. He’s sure to be on a six figure salary in the near future and so he needs to concentrate on continuing his development and improving what already is a vast amount of talent.

Liverpool is the best place for him to do so with a spot in the starting 11 pretty much certain on a weekly basis. Would he get this at the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal? Probably not.

Brendan Rodgers showed plenty of faith in Sterling as he broke into the team, and it’s time Sterling did the same by signing a new contract.

Two or three more seasons at Anfield would be ideal preparation for a big-money move to another team in the future and that extra experience of playing in the league on a weekly basis will make all the difference.

Offer him a contract with a release clause of £50m and everyone will be happy. Sterling will get the move to a Champions League club, and with it a hefty pay cheque each week. And Liverpool won’t be left empty handed.

It may not appeal to him right now but he will be a better player for it and at just 20, it could be argued that the next couple of seasons are the most important in determining his career.