No Sterling: Liverpool line up against Stoke City without want-away star – how Reds could look

first_img Raheem Sterling 2 If you haven’t heard, Raheem Sterling has been in the news quite a bit this week. But for all the wrong reasons. The toys of Liverpool’s prize asset have been tossed out of his pram in spectacular fashion.Talk about airing your dirty laundry in public.Ideal contract negotiations take place in rooms, away from the public eye. They end amicably and swiftly. No club legends-turned pundits get insulted.Meanwhile, the 20-year-old’s contract talks – or lack of them – have been evaluated and analysed at length by every man and his dog, following his agent’s claim that the England international will not commit his future to the club for “even £900,000-a-week”.So, we seem to be at something of a stalemate, given that manager Brendan Rodgers has declared that he expects the youngster to see out the remainder of his contract at Anfield, which has two years left to run.However, although the furore surrounding Sterling has show no sign of abating, the Merseysiders still have the small matter of their final Premier League game of the season to attend to.Many fans will be keen for the contract rebel to be benched for the upcoming trip to Stoke City, but how will the side line up in his absence? Let’s not forget the the forward has been a pretty important figure for the Reds this season, who are still in the hunt for a Europa League place, or still trying to ensure they don’t qualify for Europe’s secondary club cup competition, depending on your personal viewpoint.With Daniel Sturridge injured and Mario Balotelli anonymous, Sterling’s void in the front line may well be filled by Rickie Lambert. The former England striker’s career at Anfield hasn’t been the fairytale ending that he had hoped for, but should be able to provide a physical presence to combat the Potters’ rearguard.Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard’s last appearance for his hometown club will arrive at the Britannia Stadium, in far less glamorous circumstances than his previously proposed Wembley finale, but the 34-year-old will be desperate to bow out with three points.The veteran hasn’t always been assured of a starting berth this term, but surely Rodgers won’t decide to snub his skipper on Sunday afternoon? talkSPORT expects Gerrard to be utilised in a deep-lying role, behind Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho.Adam Lallana has been tipped to line up on the left-hand side of the three pronged attack, while there could also a place for Jordon Ibe who, unlike Sterling, had no qualms about putting pen to paper earlier this week.The defence may be unchanged from the defeat to Crystal Palace, with Mamadou Sakho’s hamstring injury still troubling the Frenchman, with Dejan Lovren set to continue in his stead.Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could yet receive the Golden Glove award if he keeps a clean sheet, but Mark Hughes’ men are always keen to spoil someone else’s party.Only Henderson (36) has made more Premier League appearances than Sterling (35) this term, but a Liverpool side without the Jamaican-born forward within it could become a familiar sight, if he does indeed manage to engineer a move elsewhere this summer.Here is how Liverpool could line up without Raheem Sterling at Stoke…center_img Do you think Sterling will start at Stoke? Comment below!last_img read more