Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling has admitted that he initially found it hard to return to Liverpool, but on Sunday he is ready to help Pep Guardiola’s side to victory on Merseyside.
Sterling began his professional career at Anfield in 2012, playing 95 Premier League matches for the club before moving to Manchester City in controversial circumstances.
And despite the 24-year-old having established himself as one of the division’s star performers, Sterling is yet to score against Liverpool in the Premier League, with his only successful strike against Jurgen Klopp's side coming in August's Community Shield clash.
The England international, however, is keen to improve that form and shine in front of the Kop once again.
“At first it was hard going back but now it’s time to go there and produce,” he told Sport360 ahead of an encounter that could see the Reds’ lead at the top of the table cut to three points. “It was weird at first, to see yourself in a different shirt and, against a club that’s done so much for you. It’s also emotional.
“Now I’ve got past that stage. It’s gone. It was a little thing but I’m now fully focused and fully ready.”
By their high standards, City have had a sticky start to the season, losing two of their opening 11 matches of the campaign.
Sterling, who has seven goals and an assist in 10 Premier League outings this season, maintains confidence in their ability to record just a second Anfield victory since 1981.
“When we operate to our best as a team, attacking and defensively, then we are frightening,” he said. “We just need to go there and play confidently. We know they are a good team but we are also a good team and we will give it everything.
“I see this as a game where you need to simply focus on your individual performances first and the collective performances. The rest will take care of itself.
“I think we have had difficult times there as a team but last season we went there and could have got the win at the end.”
Should City suffer defeat on Sunday, they will find themselves nine points behind their greatest title rivals – putting their two-time defence of the title in grave doubt before a third of the season has even been played.