England winger Raheem Sterling did not report for training on Wednesday amid reports that the restless young star is refusing to go on Liverpool’s Asia and Australia tour next week.
The 20-year telephoned the club to say he is ill, according to English media.
But the new tensions between Sterling and Liverpool will add to speculation of a new Manchester City bid for the player considered one of the hottest talents in Europe.
He has rejected a new 100,000 pound (140,000 euro) a week contract with Liverpool. He has two years remaining on his current deal but has reportedly told manager Brendan Rodgers he wants to leave.
The Reds did not comment on Sterling’s absence from training. But it will be a new blow to Rodgers’ efforts to keep the young gun.
Sterling is understood to have telephoned Rodgers on Monday to tell him he did not want to go on the pre-season tour.
Liverpool are due to leave Sunday for their first game against a Thai All Stars side in Bangkok on Tuesday.
They then play Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United in Australia before taking on a Malaysia XI on July 24 at the National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Manchester City have had bids of 30 million pounds (40 million euros) and 40 million pounds (55 million euros) rejected, according to English media.
They are now said to be preparing a new offer of up to 50 million pounds. – Agence France-Presse