LONDON. – The agent of Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling said yesterday that media reports that his client will ask to leave the club have been “blown somewhat out of proportion”.The sports pages of Britain’s newspapers were dominated by the story that Sterling (20) will inform Liverpool’s hierarchy of his desire to leave during a meeting with club officials on Friday.

Sterling has already admitted turning down a new contract worth around £100 000 per week, but his representative Aidy Ward says they will approach the talks with an open mind.

“The story has been blown somewhat out of proportion,” Ward said in a statement sent to talkSPORT radio.

“Raheem and his representatives have a meeting scheduled with Liverpool later this week, and we will take proceedings from there.”

Sterling has two years left on his current deal, thought to be worth £35 000 a week, and told the BBC last month that he was putting negotiations over a new contract on hold until the end of the season.

The England international’s stand-off with Liverpool, who signed him from Queens Park Rangers in 2010, is reported to have put clubs including Arsenal and Manchester City on alert.

But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was coy when asked if he was interested in signing Sterling during a Press conference yesterday.

“I don’t like to lie. If I say I will and I don’t do it, you will say I lied,” said the Frenchman, who made an unsuccessful attempt to prise Luis Suarez away from Anfield in 2013.

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Sterling is making a huge mistake by asking to leave the club.

It emerged yesterday that the 20-year-old plans to tell Brendan Rodgers that he will not be penning a new deal at Anfield.

And Barnes, who played over 300 league games for the Reds, claims the youngster will become a bit-part player if he moves to another top club.

He told BBC Sport: “He is only 20 and has not achieved anything, he has not won anything.

“The time is not right for him to move, but if he wants to move the club should sell him.

“If he goes to Manchester City, to give himself a chance of winning the league, he will not become a regular for them.

“We have seen it with players in the past like Scott Sinclair.”

Sterling has made 91 league appearances for Liverpool since breaking into the first team in 2012, scoring 18 times. – AFP.