The average Reds’ fan sees Sterling as an arrogant, money-grabbing, unfaithful and disloyal young man. To them, he is no good as he is ready to stab even his best friend at the back for personal gain. In football terms, he will not hesitate to choose the highest bidder for his services at the slightest opportunity and at the expense of his current employer, as demonstrated in his decision to leave Anfield for the Etihad Stadium.
Recall that the England international left Liverpool for City in 2015 in a £49 million (€53m/$58m) deal, a record for an English player at the time. This drew a huge backlash on the player who has since endured severe criticism from a huge section of the club faithful and even the media. The 25-year-old is still booed whenever he turns up at Anfield.
But Sterling’s former manager on Merseyside, Brendan Rodgers holds a contrary view. The Northern Irish manager should know better as it was under his tutelage that Sterling burst into the scene as a top-class talent. It was Rodgers who gave him his debut as a 17-year-old, and watched his profile rise from 2012 to 2015 when he secured a big-money move to Man City.
Speaking recently to the Liverpool Echo, the Leicester City boss insisted that the Jamaican-born star left Liverpool for footballing reasons and not because of money.
”For Raheem, it was never about money,’ Rodgers said.
”If it was about money, he could have stayed at Liverpool. It was about being the best he can be.
”In that moment in time, there was an opportunity to go to where they had top-class players. He’s gone in there and developed and become a winner, which is clear to see now in his game.”
”I look at Pep’s team and it’s not the same if he’s not in it. What a testament that is to a young English player.
”What I loved about Raheem was that, for a young boy, he knew what he wanted to be.”
Rodgers was on the verge of leading Leicester City to Champions League qualification before the season was interrupted by the outbreak of the coronavirus. The Foxes are placed third on the league table, and have played some good football under the former Celtic gaffer. At the moment, Rodgers, like Sterling and all football lovers will be hoping the world wins the war against COVID-19 soon so the beautiful game can return to the pitch.