Merseyside Insider – Liverpool’s all-star charity match, Everton’s Barkley reveals his best position and Rodgers can’t afford to lose Sterling

What’s everyone been talking about on Merseyside this week in the world of football? Jennifer Jewell gives us the scoop . . .

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Reds’ star attraction

Anfield played host to an all-star charity game organised by the LFC Foundation in aid of local good causes last Sunday, with Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher captaining a side each. Some supporters inside the ground saw this as a farewell to their beloved skipper before he heads to Los Angeles. Maybe it is. Gerrard has been out of favour with Brendan Rodgers recently and his red card against Manchester United will see him out of action for the next three games. It seems crazy to suggest that he won’t feature much for Liverpool in his last two months, but the fact is, Liverpool’s win rate this season is much better without him.

Still, a fully fit Gerrard is someone who starts every game for his club, doesn’t he? It’s a question that seems to split the Liverpool fans at the moment. But whatever you think, the opposition take note when they see Gerrard on the team sheet. When he isn’t, I’d imagine they breathe a sigh of relief!

The charity match also gave Anfield the chance to witness Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres play together for the first time. It’s the pairing that Liverpool fans were dreaming of a couple of years back and the delighted sell-out crowd finally got to see the striking duo in action. They were even happier after Suarez told LFC TV: “. . . You never know in football what the future holds, but if I ever play in England again, I will play for the Liverpool team and not another team.” Time will tell if he lives up to that promise but it put a smile on many Liverpool fans’ faces nonetheless.

Barkley’s striking out

For the blue half of the city, it’s back to serious business this weekend. Everton fans are feeling relieved after two consecutive Premier League wins – something which the Toffees have only managed on one other occasion this season back in October.

The confidence is slowly returning to the team after their 2-1 win at QPR and relegation looks a lot more unlikely than fans feared a couple of weeks ago. But it’s not all going quite to plan as it looks like Romelu Lukaku will miss this weekend’s game against Southampton with an injury. The team will surely miss him and his goals, but with Ross Barkley declaring himself as a striker this week, Everton seem to have another option there! Perhaps his comments have been taken out of context – but we’ll soon find out if boss Roberto Martinez agrees with that statement on Saturday!

Sterling work to do

Unsurprisingly, Raheem Sterling has been grabbing most of the headlines on Merseyside this week. The youngster is not having a great time with his contract negotiations and there are now talks of Arsene Wenger being interested in the 20-year-old. He currently earns a reported sum of £35,000-a-week but is set to turn down an improved offer of £180k-a-week if the rumours are true.

Some fans are becoming increasingly impatient with their starlet but Rodgers has stated repeatedly that Sterling is one of their best players – and so he wants that to be rewarded (or at least his agent does!). Whatever happens, they have to make sure he is still a Liverpool player next season!

Follow @jennifer_jewell

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