Thursday 14 December 2017

Pellegrini: Sterling can thrive on hostility

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says this today's clash against Liverpool will be a special occasion for Raheem Sterling.

Sterling is set to face the Reds for the first time this evening (KO 5.30) since his acrimonious and protracted £49million move from Anfield to City in the summer.

But while former City player James Milner may receive a warm welcome as he returns to the Etihad Stadium with Liverpool, Sterling can expect a different reaction from the visiting fans.

The 20-year-old has settled well at City, and already scored six goals, and Pellegrini hopes he can embrace the next challenge against his old club.

Pellegrini said: "I always think it is special for all players - not only Raheem - to play against the team they worked for for many players. Maybe for James Milner it will be exactly the same."

The fixture could also see the leading strikers for both clubs, City's Sergio Aguero and Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool, return to action after injuries while much fascination still surrounds new Reds boss Jürgen Klopp.

The atmosphere is also likely to be fevered with the rivalry between the clubs having intensified since their title duel in 2014.

Pellegrini said: "I think that one of the most important things in important games is to have a cold mind, maybe a hot heart, but a cold mind because there are a lot of mistakes. That is so important and I hope we can do it."

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