The in-form Manchester City winger will meet with Brendan Rodger’s Celtic on Wednesday night, as Manchester City travel to Celtic Park to continue their Champions League campaign.
For Sterling, the match will see him go up against the man who gave him his first chance at senior football in the Premier League: Brendan Rodgers. The Northern Irish manager gave Sterling his first appearance for Liverpool in March of 2012, back when the England international was just 17 years old.
Sterling, who has scored four times in the Premier League this season already, was full of praise for his former manager ahead of the clash. “Brendan gave me my chance in the Premier League. He gave me loads of starts and opportunities and lots of confidence. He was massive for me,” says Sterling.
Indeed, opportunities came aplenty for Sterling, and he made the most of them. He played 129 times for Liverpool, scoring 23 goals, 21 of which came during his final two seasons at the club. His understanding with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in the 2013/14 season created a lethal front-three which combined to score 61 league goals en route to narrowly missing out on the Premier League title.
The following season saw the relationship between player and club sour, leading to an infamous interview and ultimate transfer out of the club. One thing Sterling took with him under the management of Brendan Rodgers was the knowledge to be able to play in more than one position. “During my time there, he played me in different positions to help me understand those roles,” says Sterling.
While at Liverpool, Sterling was used mostly as a winger, but was capable of playing in midfield or as an auxiliary striker. His football intelligence and technical ability allowed for versatility, a real asset for any side, which is something Pep Guardiola may turn to if he is faced with limitations to his squad.
Sterling scored the sealing goal in Manchester City’s 3-1 win at Swansea, a classy finish full of the kind of composure and confidence that has so often been missing when he is in good goal scoring positions. For Brendan Rodgers and Celtic, they recently got back to winning ways in the Scottish Premier League with a 6-1 hammering of Kilmarnock, but will have bigger problems on Wednesday night as they take on a Manchester City side yet to taste defeat this season.