Raheem Sterling has once again opened up on his controversial £49m move from Liverpool to Manchester City in 2015.
The winger had been extremely popular at Anfield but his refusal to commit himself at the time, coupled with an ill-advised BBC interview which only served to infuriate the club, led to a serious backlash from Liverpool fans.
As such, there was little sorrow or regret from the selling club once they had sold Sterling to Man City.
Where many had assumed that Sterling’s head was only turned during that final difficult season, the 21-year-old had actually been planning his Anfield exit before he had even arrived at the club at the age of 15.
Speaking on the BBC’s Premier League show, Sterling had admitted that he discussed the plan with his agent on the train to Liverpool to join his then-new club:
“I’ve never mentioned this to anyone but I’ll never forget when me and my agent were on our way to Liverpool on the train.
“At that time I was 15 years old and we were already talking about what we’d like to do after Liverpool if things didn’t turn out like we wanted.
“I just said well this is a massive club and a massive opportunity for me now but I remember saying to him by the time I’m 22, if I haven’t won anything or playing in the biggest competitions then I need to assess my options.”
Quotes via Liverpool Echo
Sterling went on to recount the circumstances that led to his eventual departure, but insists that he bears no grudge towards Liverpool or the fans he left behind:
“You want to make sure you’re playing at the highest level. Liverpool are a great team, I never said that wasn’t the case. But at the time it was a great opportunity to come here and work with some of the best players in the world.
“I’m not saying there aren’t some great players at Liverpool because there are but it was for me, my development and where I wanted to be.
“It was about playing in the Champions League and against the biggest teams like Barcelona.
“I’ve always loved Liverpool, it was a great team which helped my development. I never had any big issues there at all with the fans or anything like that. It didn’t go the way I would have liked but it happened and you have to move on.”
Sterling has since nailed down a spot in Pep Guardiola’s Man City starting eleven, turning in a number of performances that suggest that the England international is on course to fulfil his potential under the new manager.