Football: Berger says City overpaid for Sterling, not good for Reds to sell their best players

New Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling poses with a club scarf as he leaves the club's Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain on July 14, 2015.
New Manchester City signing Raheem Sterling poses with a club scarf as he leaves the club's Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Britain on July 14, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Former Liverpool midfielder Patrik Berger believes Manchester City overpaid for England winger Raheem Sterling but is worried his old employers are gaining a reputation as a selling club.

Sterling, 20, joined City on Tuesday with media putting the price at £49 million (S$105 million).

Berger, who spent 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," he said.

"I think even £30 million 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 South-east Asia to launch the Singapore Icons of Football Cup golf tournament, was worried about the negative impact the departures of Sterling and Luis Suarez 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 a 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.