Flanagan is returning to full fitness.

Jon Flanagan says his strong tackle on Raheem Sterling was to rally the crowd

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Despite Liverpool beating Manchester City 3-0, the loudest cheer of the night at Anfield probably came from a tackle, rather than a goal.

That’s because Jon Flanagan, who was making his first Premier League start since May 2014, went crashing into former Liverpool player Raheem Sterling after just 30 seconds.

Sterling spent five years on Merseyside as the club signed him from QPR and nurtured him into an incredible young talent.

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But the 21-year-old left Anfield in unceremonious circumstances last summer to join City, much to the anger of Kopites.

And Flanagan welcomed his old teammate back to his club with a crunching tackle early on and the Liverpool full-back has revealed why he did it.

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"It was something I had to do to get the crowd up,” he told Press Association.

"The crowd have been fantastic, always right behind me even in the dark days.

"Me and Raheem were good mates at Liverpool but now he's gone to City it is just business on the pitch.”

Watch the tackle here:

Both Flanagan and Sterling played a key role in Liverpool’s title bid in the 2013/14 season. The defender was a regular at left-back during that campaign and was well renown for his robust tackles on opponents.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League

But the 23-year-old missed the entirety of last season after undergoing two knee operations, but it appears he is starting to return to full-fitness.

And his challenge on Sterling set the tone for the night as the Reds eased to a comfortable victory to gain revenge on the side that beat them in the Capital One Cup final last Sunday.

Flanagan definitely won the battle, and the war, against Sterling with the winger being hauled off at half-time.

Despite the impressive performance of the defender, he is out of contract in the summer and is yet to discuss a new deal with the club.

Liverpool v Stoke City - Capital One Cup Semi Final: Second Leg

However, Flanagan has admitted he’s just happy to be playing and is willing to let his agent deal with any contractual matters.

"It is great to be back in the Premier League. It has been a nightmare with injuries," he said.

"I am feeling good and fit and sharp so I am just trying to get as many games as possible.

"I am just leaving that side (his contract) to my agent to see what happens but it was great to hear those words from the manager in the press conference."

The impressive victory has given the Reds an outside chance of achieving a top four finish come May. They sit six points adrift of City in fourth with the two teams having 11 matches remaining.

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Premier League
Raheem Sterling
Manchester City
Steven Gerrard
Sergio Aguero

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