Date published: Saturday 13th January 2018 1:21
Pep Guardiola believes Raheem Sterling is now mature enough to take a hostile Anfield return in his stride.
Two years ago the England international was jeered and substituted at half-time during his first game back at Liverpool following his £49million move to Manchester City.
Sterling received similar harsh treatment from Reds fans as he endured another difficult match at his old ground last season.
But this time things could be different with Sterling enjoying the best form of his career ahead of the Premier League leaders’ trip to Merseyside on Sunday.
The 23-year-old has been one of the key figures in City’s outstanding start to the campaign and has 18 goals to his name, his previous best in a club season already smashed by seven.
City manager Guardiola said: “Normally when this kind of reaction happens it is because he was loved by the fans.
“I understand completely but it is not the first time he has gone back. I think it is the second or third time.
“I think he’s more mature. Of course he has to be calm and play the game he has to play.”
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City have won 20 of their 22 Premier League matches this season and drawn the other two. They seem to be powering to the title but, of all teams, Liverpool are considered one of the most likely to threaten their unbeaten record.