Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan will also be invited by the Merseyside club to hold talks on improved contractsEXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey
Liverpool are set to reward five star players with new contract offers this summer.
Daniel Sturridge is among the first-team quintet who will be invited to hold talks on improved deals at the end of the season.
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As a general rule, Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool's America-based owners, do not hold contract talks mid-season although they made an exception in the case of Luis Suarez before Christmas, when the club’s prize asset swiftly committed to a new four-and-a-half-year contract amid concern he would be targeted in the January window.
Brendan Rodgers, whose own contract expires in 2015, has said he will discuss fresh terms with the club at the end of the season and the Anfield manager is keen for his key young players to also be tied down to lengthy agreements.
Sturridge only joined in January 2013 but the February Premier League Player of the Month has been a resounding success on Merseyside, scoring 23 goals in 27 matches this season and an incredible 34 times in 43 games since his €14 million switch from Chelsea.
Liverpool fear the 24-year-old will be targeted by Europe’s elite clubs, particularly if he shines at the World Cup, and are expected to offer him a substantial rise on his current €70,000-a-week deal and extend it beyond 2018.
Like Sturridge, Coutinho, 21, joined on a five-and-a-half-year deal 13 months ago but the Brazilian’s wage is believed to be €47,000-a-week and he is also in line for an improved salary.
Henderson has started all 31 of Liverpool’s league matches this season and his improvement will be reflected in an offer to keep him at Anfield beyond his current agreement, which expires in 2016.
Johnson, 29, will have only a year remaining on his deal by the summer and Rodgers has spoken of his desire to keep the England right-back.
Flanagan, 21, a revelation at left-back in recent months, will also be offered a deal to keep him at Anfield beyond 2015, when his current agreement expires.
“Jon will be given a new contract. Come the summer he’s got another year so he will definitely be given a new deal, no question,” said Rodgers in the wake of Liverpool's recent 3-0 win at Manchester United.
“He has been outstanding. He reminded me of Steve Nicol against Manchester United – a right-footed player on the left side, steady, aggressive, no fear; he’s been a revelation, and particularly in the big games. It’s great when you see a young player develop like that. You can see the confidence he has now. He has made himself an important member of the squad.”