Exclusive: Whelan verdict on potential Liverpool return for Sterling after he goes public

Noel Whelan insisted Raheem Sterling “owes a lot” to Liverpool but does not see a return to Anfield on the cards this summer.

The former Leeds United forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, suggested Jurgen Klopp does not need the 25-year-old to return with Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah at the club.

Sterling failed to rule out a return to the club he made his professional debut at while undertaking a Q&A session on his agency’s Instagram.

When asked if he would return to Anfield one day, the England international said: “Would I ever go back to Liverpool? To be honest with you, I love Liverpool.

The winger signed for Manchester City in the summer of 2015 for £49million – a move that left a sour taste on Merseyside.

When asked by Football Insider if Sterling had burnt all bridges with his former club, Whelan said: “I do not think they will consider bringing him back while they have got Salah and Mane there.

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“They have brought through some fantastic players from their youth sides.

“Raheem Sterling should be very grateful to Liverpool for the way he was brought up and coached there. He was in a privileged position to learn from these guys. Sterling is blessed with ability there is no doubt but he should be grateful to where he started off his career. He owes a lot to Liverpool.

“Yes, you would buy him but right now is not the right time. Liverpool will be looking elsewhere to strengthen.”

Football Insider understands Real Madrid have set their sights on Sadio Mane this summer despite the arrival of Eden Hazard last year.

If a move was to materialise for the 28-year-old Klopp would need to find a replacement.

Wolves speed merchant Adama Traore already named as a potential target.

In other Liverpool news,  Danny Mills has told Football Insider starlet should not risk damaging career by staying at Anfield next season.