Raheem Sterling’s move to Manchester City has got to be one of the most controversial transfers in recent times. The England international was adored in Merseyside prior to the contract dispute. In the end, all parties got what they wanted – Sterling got a new club, Manchester City got a player with wonderful potential and Liverpool got the big bucks.
As Liverpool travelled to the Etihad last weekend, there was considerable spotlight on Sterling, naturally. There will be more when the Englishman comes to Anfield next March, or perhaps the two sides will meet in the domestic cups.
There are three key questions which need to be answered now that the season is considerably old.
Should Sterling miss Liverpool?
The only worry about Sterling’s move to Manchester City was the amount of game time he would get at the club. So far, he has made sure he is an integral part of Manuel Pellegrini’s plans. He is playing as much football as he did with Liverpool, he doesn’t have the pressure he faced last season due to an underperforming team (to be fair, he wouldn’t face that at Liverpool at this point of time), he is playing at the highest level in the Champions League and he is playing alongside some truly world class players. Why would he regret this move? Because he was at the end of a 1-4 defeat to his former side? Doing that would mean viewing one event in isolation. This is not to say Sterling is better off without Liverpool, but there isn’t any particular reason to miss his old side just as yet. Though if they consistently perform the way they did at the Etihad, he might miss it sooner rather than later
Do Liverpool miss Sterling and should they?
At the start of the season, Liverpool might have missed the youngster. The side wasn’t playing particularly well and even though Sterling too hadn’t made much of an impact individually, he was clearly not doing terribly and was combining well with Silva and de Bruyne. Moreover, Liverpool fans had deemed Jordon Ibe as Sterling’s natural replacement — some even calling him “better-than-Sterling” — and the former Wycombe Wanderers’ player couldn’t get going. However, Roberto Firmino came back from his injury and has made a significant impact since. The Brazilian was brought to the Liverpool side with the Sterling money and could be termed as a direct replacement. Ibe has also looked far more effective and even got his first professional goal for the Reds recently. As a team too, Liverpool have done much better since Jürgen Klopp took over. Other than the fact that they lost a potential world beater any team would be lucky to have, Liverpool don’t particularly need to feel remorse over the Sterling sale for too long, especially with the kind of money they got for him.
Should Manchester City regret spending 49m GBP on the player?
Definitely not. Sterling has done well since being brought in this summer. He has five goals for the club so far, including his first professional hat-trick against Bournemouth and a crucial one against Sevilla in the Champions League. He has been brought to the team for the future, and City will obviously have to nurture and develop the player. He is not a 49m GBP player at the moment and was never going to be one instantly. The sum paid by the club was for the player he has the potential of becoming. Sterling has clearly shown how good he can get many times this season. The fact that he is getting ample game time along with playing with the top most players means his potential will be realized.