Soccer City overpaid for Sterling, says Berger

Berger, who played for Borussia Dortmund and Sparta Prague before spending seven years at Liverpool after joining in 1996, was taken aback by the price.

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New Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling poses with a club scarf as he leaves the club's Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Yates play New Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling poses with a club scarf as he leaves the club's Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
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Former Liverpool midfielder Patrik Berger believes Manchester City overpaid for England winger Raheem Stirling but the Czech is worried his old employers are gaining a reputation as a selling club.

Sterling, 20, who rejected contract offers of around 100,000 pounds ($156,150) a week from Liverpool, joined City on Tuesday with local media putting the price tag at 49 million pounds, a record for a British player.

Berger, who played for Borussia Dortmund and Sparta Prague before spending seven years at Liverpool after joining in 1996, was taken aback by the price.

"If he doesn't want to sign a new deal, such a great deal, then Liverpool did the right thing, they sold him for an unbelievable amount," Berger told Reuters in Singapore on Thursday.

"I think even 30 million pounds would probably be a good price, so to sell him for 50 million is an amazing price and I think it's good business for Liverpool."

But the Czech, in Southeast Asia to launch the Singapore ICONS of Football Cup golf tournament, was worried about the negative impact the departures of Sterling and Luis Suarez last season could have on the club.

"In the last few years, they have been selling their best players which is not a good sign for the fans or the club," the 41-year-old said.

"If you want to attract players to Liverpool, they can look up who they bought and sold in the last few years and they sold their best players, which is not a good sign."

Berger said the Premier League title would be beyond Liverpool's reach next term but challenging for the Champions League berth was more realistic.

A fit Daniel Sturridge would make a top-four finish likely but Berger said the injury-prone striker could not be relied upon.

"I like him, he is a great player, I think he can be the difference but he hasn't been fit for years," he said.

The Czech said winning a trophy should be the priority for Liverpool, who finished sixth last term and were knocked out in the semi-finals of the domestic cups and made limp exits of both European competitions.

Berger, also critical of Liverpool's failure to give long-term skipper Steven Gerrard a new contract, said the pressure was on manager Brendan Rodgers to deliver some silverware after failing to win a trophy in his three years at Anfield.

"Last year, they spent 100 million and were in the middle of the table," said Berger, who was part of the Czech Republic squad that reached the final of Euro 96 in England.

"In Liverpool, as a manager, you have to win trophies and he didn't win anything in three years. The beginning of the season the games they are going to play, home and away, is quite tough, so it depends how they start the season.

"He is there now so I would give him a little bit more time."

($1 = 0.6404 pounds)

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