Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has advised Raheem Sterling to remain at the club as speculation concerning the England international's future continues to circulate.

Sterling has been heavily featured on the back pages in recent days after apparently turning down a lucrative £100,000-per-week extension to his contract, causing concern among supporters as to whether he intends to remain at Anfield beyond 2017.

While manager Brendan Rodgers has insisted that Sterling will not be sold this summer, widespread reports this week claimed that Arsenal were closely monitoring the situation and that both Chelsea and Manchester City could also hold an interest in the player in addition to the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Rodgers' side travel to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on 4 April, and ahead of that fixture, the outcome of which could have a pivotal impact on Liverpool's hopes of securing qualification for the Champions League, Toure has urged Sterling to commit his future to Liverpool and continue his rapid development on Merseyside.

"This boy is a fantastic player. I'm not surprised there's speculation because everybody would want to have a player like him. But he needs to stay here. Liverpool is a great place for him," the Ivorian told the Liverpool Echo.

"This is a massive club and he has a manager who believes in him. There's a lot more to come from Raheem and he needs to be in an environment where he can really express himself. I hope he signs. This is a club where he can really enjoy his football and where people will give him responsibility.

"This is definitely the best place for him to continue his development. At Liverpool, he's beginning to be one of the most important players. He's playing every week. If he went to another club there would be big challenges he would face. He wouldn't be the most important player."

Sterling, 20, currently earns a weekly wage of around £35,000 on his current deal, yet has denied that his decision to delay all negotiations until the end of the season is motivated by financial gain.

Toure, meanwhile, will see his own contract at Liverpool expire in June, but the veteran centre-back is believed to have been offered fresh terms to extend his stay by a further 12 months.