Brendan Rodgers has revealed Raheem Sterling left Liverpool for Manchester City in 2015 to ‘be the best player he could be.’
Rodgers, now Leicester manager, gave Sterling his debut at the age of 17 in August 2012, ironically against City at Anfield.
After wowing supporters with his progress, Sterling pushed for a move away after three years in the first-team and got his wish as he moved to the Etihad for £49m.
Despite murmurs that money played a role in Sterling’s decision to swap Liverpool for Manchester, Rodgers has explained why the England international wanted a transfer away.
‘For Raheem, it was never about money,’ Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo.
‘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.’
Since his move to City, Sterling has won two Premier League titles and emerged into one of the most dazzling attackers in the Premier League, particularly since Pep Guardiola arrived as manager in 2016.
Rodgers’ comments come after Sterling said in an Instagram video yesterday: ‘Would I ever go back to Liverpool? To be honest with you I love Liverpool.
‘Don’t get it twisted, they are always in my heart. It’s a team that done a lot for me growing up so…’
Before this season’s suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sterling had scored 11 goals in 24 Premier League appearances.