By Merseyside correspondent Coral Barry

Half the Liverpool players do not rate Brendan Rodgers as a manager, according to Raheem Sterling’s agent Aidy Ward.

The man who engineered Sterling’s acrimonious exit from Anfield in the summer has been highly critical of the recently sacked Liverpool boss in an interview today.

Ward said: “Fifty per cent of the players would probably tell you Brendan is not a good manager, but he is a good coach.”

Ward knows how much ill-feeling there will be towards him and Sterling at Liverpool but claims he was the victim of a carefully orchestrated campaign from the club.

“I became the bad guy, that’s how I was portrayed. It started from the PR behind Liverpool. There is no issue with the fans there, they don’t know the full story, and there are lots of good people at Liverpool.

“I had no problem with (chief executive) Ian Ayre for example. I have no issue with anyone but Rodgers: he had a massive job with massive funds. How did he do? Good coach, but as a manager I didn’t like certain things about how he dealt with Raheem.”

Raheem Sterling, Aidy Ward, Liverpool, Manchester City

Hate figures: Raheem Sterling and Aidy Ward have been villified by Liverpool fans

Speaking to Mail Online, Ward gave his version of the contract saga that ended with Sterling refusing to sign a new deal last season before he signed for Manchester City in the summer.

“Raheem could’ve stayed, he should be at Liverpool,” Ward said.“I think for me it was like he was being told to be a good boy and sign a contract. In December I spoke to Liverpool and said we’ll sign a contract if there is a buy-out clause – those clauses are now common practice. They said no to that.

“Then there was an underhandedness, there were sly remarks. In press conferences, Brendan told everyone Raheem would sign – why do that? I knew, Brendan knew and Liverpool knew there was an issue. Right now he probably should be a Liverpool player, but he’s not and he’s in a great place at City.”