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Dec 21, 2012

Sterling signs 'long-term' Liverpool deal

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has committed his future to the club by penning a contract extension to keep him at Anfield.

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Sterling, who turned 18 on December 8, put his signature to a deal described by the Reds as long-term - believed to be until 2017 - on Friday.

The teenager has enjoyed a spectacular 2012, making his senior debut for Liverpool against Wigan in March, going on to become a regular under manager Brendan Rodgers this season and then gaining his first England cap against Sweden in November.

In making his international bow, Sterling became Liverpool's youngest-ever England international, and the fifth youngest of all-time.

His future at Anfield had been the subject of much speculation before the deal was signed, but he insisted he never wanted to leave the club he joined from QPR's youth set-up in 2010.

"It's every 18-year-old's dream. I'm just really grateful to be at such a big club like this," Sterling told Liverpool's official website. "There's a lot more to be done.

"I haven't begun yet, as the manager has said. Hopefully I can kick on after the New Year and try to do my best for the team and the football club."

While Sterling was always keen to remain at Anfield, there were a couple of hiccups during the negotiation process.

The winger took to Twitter on November 10 to dismiss reports that he had demanded a salary of £50,000 a week to match those of out-of-favour first-team colleagues Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing - only to cause confusion by swiftly deleting the tweet.

Rodgers then publicly warned Sterling at the end of last month that he could not expect to become one of the club's highest earners until he had achieved much more in the game.

However, the manager stated on Thursday that he never had any doubts a deal would be completed.

Managing director Ian Ayre said: "This is another positive step forward for the football club in securing the long-term future of one of the country's brightest young talents.

"The negotiations were very positive and both parties acted in a very responsible way to reach an outcome that benefits both Raheem and Liverpool FC.

"Since the summer, Luis Suarez, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jonjo Shelvey and Suso have all signed new long-term contracts and it's a clear indication of our intent to keep the players we believe are crucial to bringing success on the pitch.

"It also shows the belief the players have in the vision and leadership of Brendan Rodgers and everyone at this football club."

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