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Sterling: Liverpool fan pressure in City's favour


Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling

Action Images via Reuters

Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling ramped up the pressure on his former club Liverpool last night by claiming Jurgen Klopp's players are the team carrying the biggest burden of expectation in this season's Premier League title race.

Liverpool maintained a one-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table after their 5-0 win against Watford on Wednesday night, yet City winger Sterling - who moved to the Etihad Stadium from Anfield in 2015 - has admitted he felt under more duress to succeed when he was wearing a red shirt

Sterling was part of the last Liverpool team that went close to winning the Premier League title in 2014 and he admits the pressure told as Brendan Rodgers' side slipped up in the final weeks of the season.

"When I was there I did feel a lot more pressure because their fans want it so badly," stated Sterling.

"We were in control of the title race and we had the opportunity to see it through, but we didn't do that. I think they (the supporters) got to us a little bit. That was down to the pressure in some ways."

Meanwhile, Pablo Zabaleta expects City and Liverpool's title battle to go to the wire - and is hoping his old club can prevail.

Zabaleta, who won two league crowns with City, said: "It looks like it will be between City and Liverpool until the end. I know it is going to be tough. Liverpool seem like they are also really focused on the Premier League and they won 5-0 against Watford. But obviously I wish for Manchester City to win.

"It is always special to come back to the Etihad. I wish them all the best until the end of the season. There are still three big competitions to play for and I hope they can win all of them."

Former City right-back Zabaleta was given a huge ovation as he appeared as a second-half substitute, while the the club's former manager, Manuel Pellegrini, was also given a good hand.

"It was really special," said Zabaleta, who was given a lifetime season-ticket at City when he left in 2017. "I am always happy to share the love from Manchester City fans. I spent nine seasons here at the club and so that was a really nice moment."

City were deserved victors having dominated play. They racked up 20 attempts on goal compared to West Ham's two and enjoyed 76 per cent possession. Yet the Hammers' dogged defending frustrated them and it was not until the introduction of Bernardo Silva off the bench they made the breakthrough.

The Portuguese won a penalty just before the hour and Aguero took advantage from the spot, netting his 25th goal of the season. Zabaleta said: "Overall I think they were a better team but we were always in the game."