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Monday 5 December 2016

Sterling aims to lay marker against Blues

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling can underline his and Manchester City's ambition with victory over Chelsea this weekend.

The England international was bid good riddance by Liverpool this summer after stating his desire to win trophies.

While Brendan Rodgers' team threatened silverware, they have twice been thwarted by Jose Mourinho.

Be it the infamous 2-0 win at Anfield in April 2014 where Liverpool and Steven Gerrard did let it slip, the home victory four months earlier that was also important in the Merseysiders falling short or the two-legged triumph in last season's Capital One Cup, Chelsea highlighted the gulf between contenders and pretenders.

Sterling hopes to have bridged the gap with his move down the M62, and a win on Sunday can help City create one of their own.

Chelsea's opening-day draw with Swansea means last year's champions could end the week five points behind the Blues after two games.

"I've done alright against them in the past and results-wise, I think it's been pretty even overall so far in the matches I've played in," said Sterling.

Vital

"But I'm hoping this one will go our way and it's vital that it does. We're on our own ground and with it being our first home game of the season, we want to get off on the right foot.

"Chelsea are very strong in every department from their defence and midfield to their attack, but it should be a good game and I'm really looking forward to playing in this match."

Much has been made of the £44m that City have paid to prize Sterling away from Anfield. With plenty of expectation to deliver, the 20-year-old scored within minutes of his first appearance in pre-season but was unable to find the net in his competitive debut against West Brom.

He missed a decent chance in the first half when through one-on-one with the keeper and could have got on the scoresheet after the break, but City would arguably have not got into the positions without the qualities Sterling possesses.

The youngster showed enough to those watching on Monday night to suggest he will improve City's attack and cause problems for opposition defences.

More importantly, he has the support of his manager.

"I'm not disappointed because I think that Raheem played 70 minutes very well," said Manuel Pellegrini.

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