Manuel Pellegrini confident Raheem Sterling will sparkle on return to Anfield

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has backed Raheem Sterling to shine on his Anfield return as the England man play at Liverpool for the first time since his acrimonious £49m departure last summer.

Manuel Pellegrini confident Raheem Sterling will sparkle on return to Anfield

The 21-year-old had a poor game when the sides met at the Etihad Stadium in November but performed much better against them - despite one dreadful miss in front of goal in Sunday’s Capital One Cup final at Wembley. In both matches, he took stick from sections of Liverpool fans.

Pellegrini said: “I don’t know which will be the starting XI but one player I am sure will start is Raheem Sterling.

“He’s a young player - he’s starting his career - and knows how to deal with the pressure. He will maybe receive the same treatment when he arrives at Anfield but I’m absolutely sure he can play without any problem.

“I don’t have any doubt at all. It is important for him to play under pressure. I have 100% trust in Raheem and I am sure he will be an important player in the game.

“In the way he played the other day, he demonstrated that he worked for 95 minutes, always concentrating on the game. He missed a goal but that can happen to any player.

“He was very difficult for (Nathaniel) Clyne in the one v one. I can understand after that game that he can play under pressure.”

City prevailed on Sunday after extra time and penalties. Pellegrini expects both sets of players to be tired but hopes the joy of Wembley glory will put an extra spring in his side’s step.

The Chilean said: “It was a very long game, but for both teams. I think both teams will arrive with the same hours of resting - but every time you win it is more easy to recover.”

City have breathed fresh life into their season in the past week with an impressive Champions League win at Dynamo Kiev as well as their cup final success.

They now want to maintain the momentum and get their bid for a third league crown in five seasons back on track.

Pellegrini, whose side sit fourth in the table, said: “It’s very important we get the three points. If we have a successful game on Wednesday we are going to be going for the title in the end.”

Meanwhile Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists defeat in the Capital One Cup final has not influenced his opinion of the players he has at his disposal despite admitting he is already planning for next season.

Klopp is set to be handed the biggest transfer fund of any Liverpool manager this summer. It is likely to signal a significant overhaul of the squad but the German is already working on his plans for the close season.

“We will plan for next season, that is clear. We have to wait for the right moment and we have to think about a lot of things,” he added. “We have to plan the future and that is what we are doing.”

Liverpool made a pre-tax profit of £60million in their latest published accounts but the figures were skewed entirely by the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona. The Uruguay international’s departure in the summer of 2014 meant the entire £75m transfer was recorded in the accounts for the year ending May 31, 2015.

However, all that income was immediately reinvested by former manager Brendan Rodgers in eight new players. That cost has been spread over the course of their long-term contracts, and the club have also awarded new deals to the likes of captain Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Kolo Toure, and Jordon Ibe.

It meant the accounts record, on paper, a massive profit when in reality taking the Suarez fee - which is payable in instalments - and subsequent player spending out of the equation the club would have just about broken even. They made a £900,000 profit the previous year.

But the club are generating cash to spend and Klopp will have a huge spending kitty this summer, with all top-flight clubs set to be boosted by the huge new television deal which comes into effect next season. He is likely to need it as the German looks set to offload a number of under-perfoming players like £32.5m striker Christian Benteke, who is currently third-choice but only because Danny Ings is not yet fit.

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