Liverpool v Man City: Match in pictures
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Manchester United hero Roy Keane believes Raheem Sterling has had a ‘bust-up’ with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as the England forward continues to struggle at club level.
Sterling has scored just once this term and endured a difficult campaign last season despite City regaining the Premier League title from his former club Liverpool.
The 26-year-old netted only 10 top-flight goals in the 2020-21 campaign, down by half on his total from 2019-20.
An incredible Euro 2020, in which Sterling’s three goals helped the Three Lions reach the final, seemed to imply that the Londoner had rekindled his best form.
However, Jack Grealish’s blockbuster £100million arrival from Aston Villa has hardly helped Sterling’s cause.
He has started just two of City’s Premier League games this season, scoring in the 5-0 demolition of Norwich City.
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Former United midfielder Keane has agreed with Ian Wright that there is clearly friction between Sterling and Guardiola.
“He’s definitely had some sort of bust-up with Pep,” Keane said on ITV’s coverage of England’s World Cup qualifier with Hungary.
“There’s something that has gone on there, and they’ve brought Grealish in, but when you work with top manager and big clubs when they’re competing for trophies, that’s part of the package.
“Twenty months, on his contract, is a long way away. Just focus on the game and things will pan out for him because he’s a quality player.”
Wright agreed with Keane, insisting that there is clear evidence of a rift between Sterling and Guardiola.
The former Arsenal striker even suggested that Grealish’s arrival shows that the Spaniard is not completely enamoured by Sterling.
“There’s no secret that there’s something going on with him and his manager,” Wright added.
“The club just bought a £100m player who plays in his position and we know what he (Grealish) capable of doing.
“He (Sterling) didn’t play often at the end of last season but came to the Euros and was absolutely fantastic.
“Of course, he’s got a big decision to make because he’s well within his rights to doubt what his future is at that club because there are so many very capable players and we’ve seen that with Jack Grealish.
“Of course, playing tonight will give him an opportunity to stake the claim and go: ‘listen, this is what I do.’
“I’m hoping it can work out for him but it will be interesting to see how he figures it out with himself.”
According to the Telegraph, Sterling and Guardiola are understood to have held a meeting in which they ‘agreed to disagree’ on several issues.
That discussion apparently concluded with the Spaniard insisting that Sterling remains a key part of his plans.
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