Raheem Sterling truth emerges as Liverpool answer puts twist on Manchester City rivalry
Sometimes, all that’s needed is the right environment for the truth to reveal itself.
Take Raheem Sterling, for example, this week. The Manchester City superstar, like everyone in English football right now, is making the best of some unwanted time off.
With Premier League action postponed until April 30, at the very earliest, top-flight footballers across the country are finding new and inventive ways of passing the time and filling the gaps.
Sterling and his agency decided to do this in a novel way on Monday evening, with the former Liverpool winger happy to part-take in a Q&A session on the Colossal Sports Management's Instagram account.
Across the session, Sterling gave his thoughts on the likes of Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes, but it was a question about his former club that caught the most attention.
Asked whether he would ever consider a return to Liverpool - a club he left in controversial circumstances five years ago - Sterling's answer was refreshing as it was unexpected.
Rather than simply look to keep a respectful distance from his former employers, given their on-field rivalry with his current ones, and the manner in which his departure played out across the summer of 2015, Sterling let the relaxed nature of the session coax out an intriguing response instead.
"Would I ever go back to Liverpool? To be honest with you I love Liverpool," he said. "Don’t get it twisted, they are always in my heart. It’s a team that has done a lot for me growing up so…"
Had that same question been placed at Sterling's feet by a collection of reporters, the City forward would likely have towed the party line. A dismissal out-of-hand would have been forthcoming as he played the straight bat.
Instead, the 25-year-old left the door more than ajar for an Anfield return when quizzed on the social media platform.
Sterling knows his response would have gained traction, even in something as informal as a social media Q&A session and it showed that despite the unpalatable nature of his transfer to the Etihad in July 2015, he retains an affinity for the club who made him a Premier League and England player.
It is perhaps too Machiavellian to suggest that Sterling's comments are not coincidental amid Manchester City's two-year expulsion from the Champions League, but they do suggest that even the most lukewarm flame can still flicker.
Sterling has been roundly booed and jeered every time he has returned to Anfield over the last five years. He is yet to win a game there and has endured a deeply miserable 90 minutes each time.
And despite his current standing among the fanbase who once celebrated his maturation from an untried rookie into a top-class wide man, Sterling clearly still holds a torch for Liverpool.
That same torch may have been used to burn bridges in 2015, but as proven, the right environment will still show it shining bright. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/raheem-sterling-still-holds-liverpool-17971679?fbclid=IwAR2BzWLV5UxgQ2u0JK2HRKObnx9JaosGpDpxDJQ78y_L961MAQ9ndYYZ2wo