Belfast Telegraph

I was glad to see Liverpool lift the Champions League, insists Sterling

 

By Andy Hampson

Raheem Sterling was happy to see former club Liverpool win the Champions League.

England forward Sterling left the Merseysiders for Manchester City in acrimonious circumstances in 2015 in order to further his career.

But the 24-year-old insists there is not a trace of envy now his old club have been crowned European champions, particularly as he sees City's Premier League prize as the greater.

City won their last 14 games last season to pip Liverpool by a point and retain their league title.

"I was really happy for them, happy for some of the players I know to lift the Champions League," he said. "The Champions League is massive for us as a club but our most important thing is winning the Premier League. That's our main objective going into this season.

"Yes, it'd be nice to win the Champions League, but first and foremost we want to win the league.

"The Premier League is your bread and butter, every weekend, what you train for every day. The Champions League is the nicer looking one, the most prestigious as people say, but every weekend you put in a shift, you're going to tough places. You're off to Crystal Palace, Burnley. It's tough. You put so much time into it."

City face Liverpool in the Community Shield next week before beginning their quest for a third successive Premier League title at West Ham on August 10.

Sterling said: "It'll be harder than last season. To do this three times in a row is a massive challenge for us. It's a challenge we're definitely up for.

"We're getting our work in now, getting our fitness up, and we'll be ready for the Community Shield against Liverpool. We want to be up and ready."

Sterling, who signed a contract extension until 2023 last November, is enjoying life at City so much he is happy to put his dream of playing overseas on hold.

He said: "I always wanted to play abroad but I'm happy at City. Manchester is a lovely place, even though I live near Crewe. I love the little villages. I can go out, grab lunch and chill with my family without needing the city centre. We're really happy."

One of the chief reasons for Sterling's happiness is his relationship with City's inspirational manager Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard has taken a keen interest in Sterling's game since arriving in 2016, overseeing a development that has seen him become one of the most important players in the country.

Sterling said: "He talks to us as a group and you take information on. You learn. If you don't learn, you don't play.

"I take a lot of positives from him, purely by the way he carries himself, the way he sets those high standards. It rubs off."

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