Been There, Felt That: Raheem Sterling Explains Why Manchester City Have The Edge On Liverpool In Title Race
With just ten games left of the Premier League season, Liverpool and Manchester City are set to go down to the wire for the title.
Just a point separates the two battlers, and those who trip on this last set of hurdles will surely concede the championship to the other; Manchester City aiming to retain after winning the league in 17/18 and their fourth in seven years, Liverpool striving to end their near-30-year hoodoo without being at the pinnacle of English football.
Echoes of the 2013/14 season which saw Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool being pipped to the post by Manuel Pellegrini’s Cityzens are obviously apparent, and one player who lived through that saga is hopeful to use the experience to bring him a winner’s medal this time around.
Raheem Sterling is in the somewhat anomalous position of having been on that ‘losing’ side, but wants to inflict more misery on his former team Liverpool now he plies his trade at Manchester City; the reverse of James Milner’s current predicament, if you will.
Though Sterling missed out on the title in 13/14, his scintillating performances alongside Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez earned him the first of his Liverpool Player of the Year Awards, and the prestigious European Golden Boy accolade.
A year later, he was out of the Anfield door, becoming the most expensive English player at the time as he moved east to the Etihad, with City poaching him for close to £50million. Sterling had to wait two more seasons before finally picking up the title in 17/18.
At this crucial stage of the season, Sterling has spoken of the difference he felt playing in that same atmosphere, and the expectation and pressure, at Liverpool and now at Manchester City in the nail-biting pursuit of the Premier League (The Mail);
When I was there I did feel a lot more pressure than when I'm here, with match days and the fans. I think that they get to us a little bit. We were in control and we had the opportunity to see it through but we didn't do that.
Here we're completely focused on each game and trying to win each game as it comes. It's a complete different scenario from last year - last year we were a bit more comfortable towards this point of the season.
They've been playing some good football at times but we're confident in ourselves and we've got the belief.'
This year it's a complete turnaround and we're the ones who are chasing. It's really close at the moment but I have full belief in the squad.
We're confident in ourselves and we've got the belief and the attitude and the work-rate that we need. We're completely focused on the job and not who we're up against but who we've got next - that's all that matters.
Sterling’s individual campaign so far this year has registered 12 goals and 11 assists in 25 league games for the 24-year-old.
This weekend, Manchester City travel down to Bournemouth with the chance to go top, with Liverpool competing in the Merseyside Derby on Sunday afternoon.
Squeaky-bum time indeed.