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Rodgers still confident Sterling will renew

Brendan Rodgers has reiterated his belief that Raheem Sterling will soon sign a new contract to stay at Liverpool.

• Macintosh: Sterling must sign

Sterling's current deal expires in 2014 and he is a reported target for Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

But Rodgers believes the 18-year-old, who made his England debut against Sweden last month, will remain at Anfield.

"That will be resolved fairly soon, I'm sure," the Liverpool boss said.

Rodgers denied that the delay in getting Sterling to re-sign and the speculation about his future has impacted upon the winger's form, adding: "He has got a special ability that whatever is going on it doesn't affect him."

Sterling only made his first Liverpool start in August but has become an automatic choice for Rodgers.

Signed by Rafa Benitez, Sterling joined Liverpool from QPR at the age of 15 and became the second youngest scorer in his history when he netted against Reading in October.

Both Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre have been involved in Sterling's contract talks.

Rodgers also defended Luis Suarez after the striker was booked for dissent in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa at Anfield.

The Uruguayan was making his return to the side after sitting out the 3-2 win at West Ham because of a ban.

And Suarez, already booked earlier in the season for both diving and dissent, collected a sixth caution of the domestic campaign. If he gets to 10 yellow cards, he will incur a two-match ban.

But Rodgers said: "I didn't think he deserved to be booked. He's a passionate lad. I would never take that passion out of his game.

"He has picked up some bookings this season but some of them were needless from referees. He got booked for diving [at Sunderland] when it wasn't a dive."

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