2014 has been a whirlwind year for Raheem Sterling. Having suffered the first major disappoint of his career in 2013 - he was dropped from the Liverpool match day squad for an alarming loss of form - Sterling came back with a zest in his step to establish himself as the best youngster in world football - at least in the eyes of manager Brendan Rodgers.
Sterling was so good the 'SAS' attack of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge had to be redubbed 'SASAS' in recognition of Sterling's form.
Not only did he help Liverpool come as close as they ever have to winning the Premier League, he made the world sit up and take notice as he was arguably England's best player in the World Cup.
This form has continued into the new season with three goals and two assists in just seven games. Such form belies the reported £30,000 a week he is on, causing the voices in Sterling's camp to be quite raucous about the terms of a new deal - and rightly so.
However, amid reports the Reds are willing to pay Sterling a weekly wage in the range of £150,000 - the amount Sturridge signed his new deal - Liverpool need to be savvy.
Such a wage implies Sterling is a world class player. He is not. He has neither the required quality (yet), nor years of consistency to be deemed world class.
Of course, we are in the day and age where clubs spends tens of millions on transfer fees for youngsters with the potential to be world class. Therefore, there is an argument Liverpool could to the equivalent with Sterling's wages - certainly Manchester United did so with Luke Shaw.
However, history suggests Liverpool would be unwise to do the same with Sterling. When Sterling first broke onto the scene in 2012 he was a bright spark in an otherwise bleak period for the club.
Following his first goal in professional football against Reading in October, Sterling earned his first cap for England against Sweden a month later; sure enough, following rumours of vultures circling an ailing Liverpool, a new contract was thrashed out by the end of the year.
As the money rolled in, the performances stopped until December 2013 - one full year after Sterling signed his first contract.
Earlier this year Sterling alluded to going off the rails and spoke on how manager Brendan Rodgers, as well as Captain Steven Gerrard and last season's star player, Luis Suarez, helped him get back on track:
"I couldn't ask for a better captain," the forward said of Gerrard.
"Before every game he is helping me in terms of what player I am up against and to have someone like that to encourage you is great."
"He [Brendan Rodgers] was trying to get me settled off the pitch and on it he was telling me to be more at home and be more relaxed on the ball and express myself and that has really helped me," he told the Barclays Premier League Podcast.
"He has made me realise I am here on merit and I'm not just here because of what I've done in the youth teams.
"When you are training with Gerrard and (Luis) Suarez it is a bit nerve-wracking but after a while you get used to it and you start being yourself and start expressing yourself.
"I think like I am getting into that zone where I feel I can express myself to the fullest, not be shy and come out of my shell and it has really helped me.
"I am really settled and really happy to be in the team."
The above suggests Sterling is still learning (which he most certainly is); to give him a wage befitting a world class player would be wrong as it implies he is close to the finished article.
At the same time, with rumours of Real Madrid looming in the background, Liverpool need to tie up contract talks before rumour becomes reality.
One idea would be to triple Sterling's basic wage from £30,000 a week to £90,000 a week. The rest of the contract should then be fleshed out with performance related bonuses.
For example: should Sterling score 15 Premier League at any stage of his contract, he would trigger a clause causing his wage to rise from the proposed £90,000 a week to £150,000 a week.
Should he score 20 Premier League goals, then it would rise to £200,000 a week.
Should he score 25 Premier League goals, he should earn £250,000 a week.
The aim is to keep Sterling motivated and consistently striving for self-improvement.
In the past Sir Alex Ferguson challenged Cristiano Ronaldo to score 15 Premier League goals - it coincided with Ronaldo scoring 17 as United won the Premier League for the first time in four years in 2007.
The challenge was issued again: this time the challenge was to score 30 Premier League goals - Ronaldo scored 31 goals during the 07/08 season.
Two seasons after, he challenged Wayne Rooney to surpass Ronaldo's total of 42 in all competitions. Injury cut Rooney's season short but he managed a career best of 34 goals - 11 more than his previous best at the time.
Given's Sterling's tenacious approach to the game, he should relish such challenges whilst he would receive a wage that acknowledges the current contributions he is giving to the team.
Some may argue £90,000 a week is too low and teams such as Real Madrid could smack that figure out the ballpark. That is certainly true but would they be willing to do so?
Once taking into consideration Sterling's would be fee and FFP regulations, I would argue no team in the world would be prepare to offer Sterling much more than £90,000 a week. Liverpool should take advantage of this and work it to their advantage.