Now in his third season at Manchester City, Raheem Sterling is really starting to impress again in the Premier League.
The Englishman kissed goodbye to Liverpool in 2015 in a £49 million move that infuriated Kopites and left pundits scratching their heads. Under the wing of Pep Guardiola, however, the move finally appears to have paid off.
Sterling has accumulated nine goals in eight starts for City this season – replicating the form that saw him become such a revered young talent on Merseyside.
And although Guardiola has evidently taken the 22-year-old’s career to a new level, Brendan Rodgers is the man responsible for igniting his career in the first place.
Kenny Dalgish blooded Sterling in the 2011-12 campaign before the arrival of Rodgers marked an admirable degree of trust in the young star. The Englishman was handed no less than 36 appearances in his first term under the ex-Swansea City boss.
Sterling repaid the faith with a campaign that attracted substantial attention.
That following year saw him forge a formidable attacking triumvirate with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, narrowly falling short of the Premier League title, and a season as the main man before his City move.
The manner in which Sterling moved to the Etihad Stadium certainly left a sour taste in the mouths of Liverpool, their supporters and particularly Rodgers.
And old footage from the ‘Being: Liverpool’ documentary from 2012 showed that the pair had a love-hate relationship from the very start with Rodgers implementing strong discipline in his maiden weeks as boss.
A 17-year-old Sterling had responded to an order by remarking ‘steady’ and it didn’t go down well. Rodgers gathered a group of young players before singling out Sterling; threatening to send him on a flight home if he did it again.
Check out the classic clip below:
It certainly looks remarkable when you consider Sterling’s position half a decade down the line.
Since that day, he has become an invaluable member to both the Manchester City and England squads with a growing influence in the Premier League.
It’s certainly perceivable that moments of discipline like this from Rodgers and co. contributed to his success in seasons to come.
Besides, if Sterling had slacked when his City career began to wane early on, then it wouldn’t be ridiculous to foresee him leaving the club.
There was no flight home for Sterling, though, and – on current form this season – the only flight he’ll be grabbing will be Russia-bound.