Raheem Sterling soon could ease the sense of sadness around Liverpool Football Club with the stroke of a pen.

Sterling and Liverpool are close to agreeing on terms of a new contract, which will give the young star a hefty raise and potentially tie him to the club until 2020. Sterling is expected to sign the new deal by the end of January, according to the Liverpool Echo, the Telegraph and the Mirror.

The new contract will reward Sterling, 20, for his rise from hot prospect to key player at Anfield over the last 18 months. Sterling cemented a place in Liverpool’s lineup in early 2014 and progressed throughout the year, showing great talent, versatility and a strong mindset on the field. Sterling has scored six goals and assisted on five more in 28 games (in all competitions) this season.

Sterling’s rise has drawn attention around the soccer world, and leading clubs such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are thought to be interested in enticing him away from Liverpool. Sterling’s current contract expires in 2017, and he has been locked in contract negotiations with Liverpool for the last few months. Saturday’s reports likely will end transfer speculation surrounding a player who embodies Liverpool’s hopes for a bright future.

Sterling’s contract news comes days after Steven Gerrard stunned Liverpool by announcing that he’ll leave the club when his contract expires after the 2014-15 season.

Liverpool still is digesting the impending loss of a legend. The prospect of a potential great remaining with Liverpool should boost the spirits of Reds fans everywhere.

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Thumbnail photo via LiverpoolFC.com