Raheem Sterling has never really lived up to expectations, has he?
When the Englishman broke out with Liverpool in 2012, Kopites and England fans alike were giddy with excitement. Sterling was, after all, a tricky attacking player so rare for his age.
And, fast-forward to 2015, Manchester City were interested in procuring arguably England’s most promising talent.
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Two seasons as a regular in the Liverpool first team coupled hard evidence to the raw hype that had tailed his early months in the Premier League. Sterling proved the perfect foil for the goal machines of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.
The 22-year-old made 129 appearances for the Anfield side, scoring 22 goals during his time at the club. Notably, though, his goal tally steadily increased with each year on Merseyside.
His departure from the club was far from amicable, however.
City’s chase of the Englishman prompted him to refuse a place on Liverpool’s Asia tour of 2015. He came in for criticism from the likes of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard.
On July 12, the deal was concluded for a fee of £49 million that made him the most expensive England international ever at the time.
That shock transfer took place over two years ago now, with Sterling approaching over 100 appearances at the Etihad Stadium. Moreover, the 22-year-old will face his old side once again on Saturday.
Consequently, it’s a good time to look back on just how that surprise move was received at the time. It’s fair to say Liverpool fans were all saying the same thing.
Take a look at some of the classic Twitter reaction from 2015:
So, aside from the standard ‘snake’ related heckling, supporters were generally bemused by the transfer fee that City shelled out. Oh how times change.
Just two years on and the £49m which bought Sterling now looks like a drop in the ocean. This summer saw Neymar move to Paris Saint-Germain for £196m and Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona for £133m.
In the 2015 transfer climate, though, Liverpool can be seen as garnering a rather inflated fee.
It didn’t necessarily do them any favours with Brendan Rodgers executing some typically dubious deals in response. The captures of Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and Christian Benteke prove questionable at best.
Equally, Sterling is yet to truly prove himself with the Citizens. After two solid but ultimately non-descript campaigns up north, the onus is now on the winger to fulfill his potential.
The crucial equaliser against Everton and dramatic winner versus Bournemouth bode well. We’ll just skate over that red card, hey?
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