The England international swapped Anfield for the Etihad in a big-money move but his former coach insists it wasn’t about finances
The England international joined City in 2015 from Merseyside in a £49 million (€53m/$58m) transfer – which was a record for an English player at the time.
Reds fans were devastated to see the 20-year-old talent leave their club, with the winger looking primed to become a world-class player after scoring 23 goals in 129 appearances.
Rodgers, who gave Sterling his debut as a 17-year-old, believes the Jamaican-born star left Liverpool for footballing reasons – not because of the finances offered by City.
“For Raheem, it was never about money,’ the now Leicester City boss told the Liverpool Echo.
“If it was about money, he could have stayed at Liverpool. It was about being the best he can be.
“In that moment in time, there was an opportunity to go to where they had top-class players. He’s gone in there and developed and become a winner, which is clear to see now in his game.
“I look at Pep’s team and it’s not the same if he’s not in it. What a testament that is to a young English player.
“What I loved about Raheem was that, for a young boy, he knew what he wanted to be.”
Sterling came of age under Pep Guardiola at City during the 2017-18 campaign, scoring 23 goals in all competitions before backing it up with 25 strikes last season.
However, despite a hot start to the current season, he has failed to score a goal in 2020, with Guardiola suggesting that injury had curtailed his momentum.
In a recent Q&A session on Instagram, Sterling refused to rule out a return to Liverpool in the future.
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“Would I ever go back to Liverpool? To be honest with you I love Liverpool,” he said.
“Don’t get it twisted, they are always in my heart. It’s a team that did a lot for me growing up so…”
Sterling won’t be in action with Manchester City until at least April 30 with the Premier League suspended until this date because of the coronavirus pandemic.