By Coral Barry

Nathaniel Clyne has praised Jon Flanagan after he kept Raheem Sterling in his “pocket” during Liverpool’s win over Manchester City.

Flanagan started his first Premier League game in 22 months and was faced with the task of keeping Liverpool’s former star winger Sterling quiet on Wednesday night.

Sterling was subsequently substituted at half-time after enduring a torrid first half against Flanagan and Clyne was delighted with his opposite full-back’s domination of the winger in the 3-0 victory.

“He was quality,” Clyne told the Liverpool website. “He was up against a tough player in Raheem but he had him in his pocket and he stuck into him well and had a good game.”

Flanagan welcomed Sterling back to Anfield with a crunching tackle after just 30 seconds much to the delight of Liverpool fans.

The 23-year-old has spent almost 18 months on the sidelines due to injury and is currently fighting for a new contract.

With his existing deal expiring in the summer, Flanagan has expressed his desire to remain at Liverpool for his entire career.

Fearless Flanagan: Full-back floored Sterling after just 30 seconds against City

Clyne arrived in the summer from Southampton and admits Flanagan has surprised him since returning to the first team.

“[I’ve been] very impressed,” said Clyne. “For a player who has been out for so long, he’s come back [and looked] like he’s never been away really.

“His performances have been quality and he’s getting back to match fitness, which is good for the club to have more competition for places.”

Liverpool’s next game is an away game at Crystal Palace and they hope to put right three straight defeats to the Eagles.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have cut the gap between them and the final Champions League spot to just six points and have set their sights on a final surge for Europe.