English Premiership

Sterling speaks out about Liverpool exit

Raheem Sterling (Getty Images)
Raheem Sterling (Getty Images)

Manchester - Raheem Sterling said that the chance to play with Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was part of the reason that he left Liverpool.

"It was just about the players that were here," Sterling said. "I could name 10 or 11 who have played at the highest level - people like Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Yaya Toure.

"For me to develop my game I've got to be playing with the best and that's why I came here."

Sterling's future was under a cloud in 2014 before he left Anfield amid a dispute with then-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

"When I was younger, I could always see this club growing and achieving great things. When I found out that they were interested in signing me, there were no second thoughts," he said of City.

"I want to be fighting for trophies for the next 10 years, and there's no better place to do that than here."

His time with Manchester City did not start out as well as it might have after the 21-year-old moved to Etihad Stadium for £49m, but he said he has improved under the guidance of Pep Guardiola.

"I'm still the same player that I was before, but I'm a player full of confidence now," he explained.

"As an attacker, he (Guardiola) wants you to express yourself and be free, as long as you work for your teammates when you lose the ball."

Sterling said the manager had instilled an attacking mindset.

"He told me that every time I get the ball I should go at defenders. He's trying to get that into my head and it's good when you know your manager has faith you can create something."

The England international was guarded when commenting on their Champions League form.

"The Champions League is the dream for everyone, but we've got to take it step-by-step. We want to be competing on all fronts, in every competition."

City face Middlesbrough on Saturday (kick off at 17:00) as they hope to maintain their lead at the top of the Premier League.

Guardiola's charges, along with Arsenal and Liverpool, boast the same log points but goal difference remain the differentiating factor.

The Citizens hold a goal difference of 15 compared to Gunners' 13 and Liverpool's 11.