‘You’re not big enough for Sterling’

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Ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Aston Villa at Wembley, Rodgers indicated it could take two decades for Sheik Mansour’s club to reach the status of either Liverpool or Manchester United.

City have been heavily linked with a £50 million move for Sterling, who has two years left on his contract and is stalling on a new deal. The champions have also monitored vice-captain Jordan Henderson, who only has a season left on his Anfield contract.

However, Rodgers was emphatic that moving to City would not represent a step up.

‘If you say that City is a bigger club than Liverpool, you’re wrong,’ he said. ‘I’ve got big respect for what City are doing - they’re trying to build it the right way. But at this moment you can’t compare the size of the two clubs.

‘You’ve got Liverpool and United, the two biggest clubs in this country and the rest of them are fighting to be there over the next 20 years. I wouldn’t say we were a development ground for going to “bigger” clubs.’

City have tried to sign players from Arsenal and Liverpool hoping to weaken their rivals. They have bought Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Adebayor, Bacary Sagna and Kolo Toure from Arsenal but failed to lure Fernando Torres when he was at Anfield. This summer, Liverpool will also try to sign James Milner from City.

Rodgers hopes victory over Villa today will strengthen his case and increase the chances of keeping players.

‘Our vision is to win trophies,’ he said. ‘The first objective was to get into the Champions League again. We arrived there this year and could focus on winning a trophy. We just have to concentrate on performance levels, get to the final and we’ll take it from there.’

Club captain Steven Gerrard is available after a three-match ban and Rodgers has to decide whether to start with him in what could be his final appearance at Wembley before his move to LA Galaxy.

Mail On Sunday

Original source: 'You're not big enough for Sterling'

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