Raheem Sterling 'ready' to leave Liverpool - Phil Thompson

It will be "very difficult" for Raheem Sterling to stay at Liverpool, according to former Reds defender and coach Phil Thompson.

Sterling's future at Liverpool has been the subject of speculation, with the winger yet to sign an extension to his current contract which expires in 2017.

Last month, an ESPN FC source confirmed Sterling will not sign a new deal this season as he waits to see what offers come his way this summer.

And Thompson, who won seven league titles with the Reds, believes the England international is set to leave Anfield.

He said in the Daily Mirror: "I think it will be very difficult for him to stay at Liverpool now. He's shown all the signs that he's ready and prepared to leave the club.

"But if he was to stay I would like to think his role will be on the flanks -- I don't think Liverpool can even contemplate him being their main striker next season, because he's not a natural goal scorer.

"Liverpool need somebody who's going to get you at least 15 league goals and maybe 25 overall -- Raheem Sterling is not going to get you that.

"He's done well for the team -- he's helped them out up front this season, but I think everyone can see that he's not quite strong enough for it."

"So, no matter where he is next season, I think his best role is out wide rather than through the middle."