By Coral Barry

Liverpool full-back Jon Flanagan has revealed that his friendship with Raheem Sterling is now strictly business.

Flanagan faced off against Sterling in Liverpool’s 3-0 mauling of Manchester City on Wednesday night in the Premier League.

Sterling had a particularly bad night on his first return to Anfield after his £49million move to City in the summer and was substituted at half-time after enduring a torrid 45 minutes up against his old teammate Flanagan.

The 23-year-old put in a ferocious tackle on Sterling barely a minute into the game and Flanagan was asked about that specific challenge.

“It was something I had to do to get the crowd up,” Flanagan told the Press Association.

“The crowd have been fantastic, always right behind me even in the dark days.

“Me and Raheem were good mates at Liverpool but now he’s gone to City, it is just business on the pitch.”

Merseyside’s most hated: Sterling is not a popular man in Liverpool after since his City move

City and Liverpool played each other twice in the space of just four days and Sterling was the subject of relentless booing over the two matches by Reds’ supporters.

The winger’s early substitution was met by huge cheers in Anfield, with Liverpool fans taking to twitter to express their delight.

Liverpool managed to severely dent City’s title hopes with the victory and gain sweet revenge for their Capital One Cup heartbreak against the Sky Blues on Sunday.

The result leaves Liverpool just six points behind City and the final Champions League spot with ten games left to play.