Raheem Sterling

Man City - Liverpool recap
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Man City gives Liverpool guard of honor, 4-star thumping

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Raheem Sterling scored, won a penalty, and forced an own goal out of his former side as Manchester City gave Liverpool a guard of honor and then battered the newly-crowned champions 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.

Kevin De Bruyne had a goal and an assist to move within three assists of equalling Thierry Henry’s PL single-season record for assists (20). It would’ve been two but Sterling’s second goal was changed to an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal.

MANCHESTER CITY – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Phil Foden scored City’s other goal and Riyad Mahrez has a stoppage-time fifth chalked off by VAR under questionable circumstances. The runners-up are 20 points back of Liverpool with six matches left each.

The four goals allowed were the most by Liverpool in a Premier League game since an Oct. 2017 loss at Tottenham.


Three things we learned

1. Weirdest… guard of honor… ever: Man City gave the new Premier League champions a richly-deserved guard of honor, as the champs walked onto the pitch between two lines of applauding runners-up. The empty stands helped deliver an extremely awkward first welcome for the new kings of England.

2. Sterling cuts up the champs: Ex-Liverpool star Sterling twice got the better of Joe Gomez in the first half. The first time was an unholy battle in the box where the winger didn’t go down after a few legit fouls before hitting the deck under a lesser shove. De Bruyne fooled Alisson Becker and converted his penalty just before the first half water break.

The second goal was class even if his first touch to fool the center back was a little heavy before slotting past Alisson. HIs third went down as Alexander-Arnold own goal but was headed home anyway.

3. Hangover, Pt. IV? Liverpool did not have its finishing boots or foreheads in the first half-hour despite having a good amount of dangerous chances, so their performance coming out of the gates makes it hard to put the blowout down to mentality. Although maybe the club’s perpetual drive to become a title-winner took a that will take a minute to reclaim.

Regardless, when we wrote about the “What now?” of post-title Liverpool, we pointed out that the Reds’ biggest obstacle to boasting the best league season of all-time is what City did two seasons ago.

In 2017-18, City lost twice and drew four times, collecting 100 points while scoring 106 goals with a plus-79 goal differential. The Reds are now at two losses and two draws with six to play, sitting on 70 goals and a plus-46 GD.

Still the champions, though, and you wouldn’t put it past them to score six-a-game for a while.

Man of the Match (and Player of the Year)

De Bruyne. He’s just incredible, one of only five players to score 10-plus goals and 10-plus assists across Europe’s top five leagues (Jadon Sancho, Lionel Messi, Alassane Plea, Serge Gnabry).


Man City – Liverpool recap

Gabriel Jesus was offside when he potted a third-minute breakaway.

Mohamed Salah could’ve had it 1-0 at the other end but his less-than-ideal take was collected by Ederson.

Liverpool put the first two shots on target before Kevin De Bruyne led a charge that finished with a blocked shot in the Reds’ 18.

The Reds countered through Sadio Mane, but the Senegalese sensation’s shot spun wide.

Salah then beat Ederson but not the goal post as Liverpool kept knocking at the door.

De Bruyne might’ve won a penalty off Virgil van Dijk in the 23rd minute, but referee Anthony Taylor blew his whistle and gave a foul in the run-up.

Sterling then did win a penalty off Joe Gomez in a minuscule bit of revenge for their early season dust-up(s).

Ederson deployed his best Manuel Neuer in racing well outside the 18 to deny Salah with a slide before clearing the danger with a second touch.

Sterling made it 2-0 on a Phil Foden-led rush, beating Gomez and then Alisson with a cool finish despite a tough first touch.

Foden delivered a goal of his own before halftime to make it 3-0, a tremendous 1-2 with De Bruyne to put the Belgian within three of Thierry Henry’s single-season assist record.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Jesus had a 49th-minute chance to provide City’s fourth but sputtered his shot to a stooping Alisson. Then Sterling drove the middle before taking a shot that was deflected just wide of the far post.

De Bruyne took an incredible first-touch pass and neatly had another assist when he found a shoved Foden for a missed effort.

Mane won a free kick on the edge of the 18 in the 56th as Liverpool hoped for a penalty.

Instead, City scored again when De Bruyne cued up Sterling for a shot that was slid into the Liverpool goal by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It should’ve been 5-0 when Mahrez beat Alisson in stoppage time, but the ball hit Foden’s arm in the build-up when Fabinho dragged the City man to the turf.

Man City beats Newcastle to complete FA Cup semifinal field

Newcastle - Man City recap
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Manchester City wasn’t at its best but took care of business in a 2-0 FA Cup quarterfinal win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

Kevin De Bruyne scored a first-half penalty and Raheem Sterling scored a pretty second-half goal in the win.

Sterling’s goal came moments after Dwight Gayle had one of the worst howlers you’ll see this year, but City controlled the match and deserved the win.

Man City joins Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea in the semis. City will meet Arsenal on July 19, one day after Chelsea battles Man Utd.

[ MORE: Liverpool win Premier League – everything to know ]

It’s no surprise that Man City was in control in the opening half-hour. After one half hour, Newcastle had completed less than 10 percent of the passes of City (188-15).

Raheem Sterling forced a great save out of Karl Darlow and Riyad Mahrez also just missed with an effort as the defending tournament champs possessed and possessed against Newcastle’s well-drilled group.

Fabian Schar shoved Gabriel Jesus to the turf in silly fashion on a cross that was never going to meet the Brazilian, and De Bruyne put City up 1-0 in the 37th minute.

Newcastle was much better in the second half, and it should’ve been 1-1 when Allan Saint-Maximin cued up Dwight Gayle atop the six. The striker somehow sailed it over the goal.

Raheem Sterling put the tie to bed within moments, curling a beautiful strike around Darlow and inside the far post.

It was Sterling’s 22nd goal of the season, giving him a goal in five competitions including the Premier League (12), Champions League (5), League Cup (3), and Community Shield.

Lampard: Pulisic can reach Sterling, Salah, Mane level

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Christian Pulisic can reach the levels of Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

That is what Chelsea boss Frank Lampard believes, mentioning those superstar wingers unprompted when discussing Pulisic’s potential.

Lampard heaped praise on Pulisic, 21, after his superb goal in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Man City on Thursday, as the USMNT star has scored in each of his first two games of the Premier League restart and is making up for lost time after being out injured since Jan. 1.

[ RELATED: Liverpool win title – everything to know ]

ProSoccerTalk asked Lampard about Pulisic via Zoom following the American’s man of the match display against Man City, specifically asking about his recent goalscoring exploits and how big of a player he can become in the years to come.

“I think he can become a really big player,” Lampard said. “When you look at his age, because he broke through at such a young age in Germany, and he moves to us and people, their expectations rise. We have to take his age into consideration but there’s no doubting the quality. We can see that. He’s very keen to improve and to work, and he’s particularly hungry at the minute because he missed some time with his injury.

“If he wants to learn, and he does, then on the training pitch and how he sees the game and if he looks around him and sees the players around him that have made that sort of a jump. He has the ability of the Raheem Sterling’s who are producing numbers from wide areas, the Mo Salah’s and Mane’s. It’s important he understands the work that needs to be done to do that because he definitely has the talent to do that. He needs to try and get to that level. I’m delighted to have him at the minute. He works hard every day and he has to set his sights as high as he possibly can.”

Pulisic has now scored seven goals in the Premier League this season and his debut season in England has gone from strength to strength after a slow start.

Left out of the Chelsea team in September and October, Pulisic told ProSoccerTalk it was ‘very frustrating’ but the American winger kicked on during the winter months before injury strike him in January and he had only just recovered in March when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

These words from Lampard show just how highly he is rated at Chelsea and adding goals and assists to his game was the final part of the jigsaw as his previous highest goals tally in a season was seven before 2019-20. He has eight goals in all competitions so far and he looks likely to hit double figures considering his current form and Chelsea still being in both the FA Cup and Champions League.

Lampard, the highest-scoring midfielder in Premier League history, knows all about timing runs from midfield and finishing and he told us he is working one-on-one with Pulisic to improve that side of his game. Getting to the levels of Sterling, Mane and Salah will not be easy but Pulisic will be pushed all the way by Lampard and Chelsea and that is exactly what he needs.

Pulisic has stiff competition just to get into the team at Chelsea as it is right now and with Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech arriving for the 2020-21 season, it will get even tougher. That is bringing out the best in the Pennsylvanian Messi.

Doing what he’s doing at the age of 21, is it possible that Pulisic could surpass Mane, Salah and Sterling?

Lampard disagrees with Sterling’s manager comparison

Lampard Sterling
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Frank Lampard has revealed he disagrees with a comparison made by Raheem Sterling that white managers get more opportunities than Black managers in the English game.

Sterling said in a recent interview that the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard ere fast-tracked into big managerial jobs at Chelsea and Glasgow Rangers respectively, while Black coaches Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole haven’t been given the same opportunities.

Asked about Sterling’s comments ahead of Chelsea v. Man City on Thursday (start time, 3:15pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Lampard first lauded Sterling and other Premier League stars for their comments in the fight against racism, but revealed that he disagreed with him on this specific case of managers getting opportunities.

“I think in the actual case of managers, I think he got it, from my point of view, slightly wrong, because it felt like a very casual comparison,” Lampard said. “Because if you compare opportunities and pathways of individual managers, you can compare myself, you can compare Steven, you can compare Sol, who by the way did an incredible job at Macclesfield and the job now at Southend is tough, it’s one all of us would find difficult to do. Then you can compare Ashley Cole who finished his career last year with me at Derby, and is working away here (as Chelsea academy coach) with me and doing a great job, and I think he’s going to be successful whatever he wants to do. So I think it’s very hard to make that comparison from the outside.”

Here’s a reminder of what Sterling originally said earlier this month to the BBC.

“There’s something like 500 players in the Premier League and a third of them are black and we have no representation in the hierarchy, no representation of us in the coaching staffs,” Sterling said. “There’s Steven Gerrard, your Frank Lampards, you have your Sol Campbells and you have your Ashley Coles. All had great careers, all played for England. At the same time, they’ve all respectfully done their coaching badges to coach at the highest level and the two that haven’t been given the right opportunities are the two Black former players.”

In the English Football League there is a rule where at least one coach from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background will be interviewed for the position but that has yet to have a big impact on the number of Black coaches being hired.

Raheem Sterling: Black Lives Matter tributes “a massive step”

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Raheem Sterling got Man City off on the right foot with the first goal of the Premier League’s season restart, but he was more impressed by a poignant moment before kickoff at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling, himself a victim of racial abuse as a player, was joined by everyone on both teams in taking a knee before kickoff in an anti-racism gesture on a day all players had their name plates replaced by the phrase Black Lives Matter.

[ RECAP: Man City 3-0 Arsenal ]

“It’s a massive step for the Premier League to allow something like that to happen,” Sterling said. “Little by little we’re seeing change and that’s what everyone’s hoping for, not just black players but the entire country.”

The goal was Sterling’s 12th of the Premier League season but first since the calendar turned to 2020.

The City superstar said it’s a good first step for him and his club. He also admitted that the empty stadium took some adjustment.

“First 10 was kinda getting used to this atmosphere and getting the cobwebs off,” Sterling said, adding that the goal-free 2020 was “something I beat myself up about but I knew at some point I’d get an opportunity.”

Man City hosts Burnley on Monday before a big trip to Chelsea one week from Thursday.