Sterling image in 'tatters' but Liverpool partly to blame for City move

The editor for a Liverpool fanzine says the club should have acted quicker to secure Raheem Sterling's future.

Raheem Sterling has left his public image "in tatters" but Liverpool must take their share of the blame for the forward's expected move to Manchester City, according to the editor of a leading fanzine.

England international Sterling is on the brink of moving to the Etihad Stadium, after manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed earlier on Monday that a deal has been agreed with an unnamed club.

The transfer will bring an end to a long-running saga that has seen Sterling receive criticism over his conduct for reportedly trying to force his way out of Anfield.

Gareth Roberts - editor of The Anfield Wrap - has been left with a "sour taste" over the actions of Sterling and his agent Aidy Ward, but says Liverpool should have rewarded the 20-year-old with a new contract after a stellar 2013-14 season.

"I didn't really see the point in a lot of the tactics of Sterling and Aidy Ward to get the move. Ultimately, if City had put a £50million bid in at an earlier time the deal is done," Roberts told Perform. 

"The rest of it leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth. Raheem Sterling's got his move but I would argue that his public image has been left in tatters. 

"I think fans, not just Liverpool fans, across the country now will label him as greedy. I think he's made himself a target for the boo-boys and the pressure is immediately on him now."

Roberts added: "I think Liverpool are partly to blame for this situation as well, because if you go back to 2013-14 when we had the tilt at the title and came so close; the second half of that season in particular, Raheem played really well for us and was on top of his game.

"I think back to a game against Norwich, he essentially won that game for us. He scored one, set one up for [Luis] Suarez and afterwards the manager used the phrase 'Raheem is the best young player in Europe right now'.

"Now if you're the best young player in Europe and your manager is calling you that I think you can expect to be paid more than an average Premier League footballer."