By Coral Barry
Raheem Sterling lasted just 45 minutes on his Anfield return for Manchester City – and Twitter was delighted.
The former Liverpool winger was hauled off at half-time after suffering a torrid first period during City’s 3-0 Premier League defeat on Wednesday night.
Sterling moved to Manchester last summer for £49million and has been an unpopular figure on Merseyside ever since.
The Englishman was booed for the entirety of Liverpool’s defeat to City in the League Cup final on Sunday and it was the same story on Wednesday night as the home fans jeered his every touch.
The win means Liverpool gained swift revenge for the heartbreak they suffered on Sunday, but most supporters might well have been satisfied with just seeing the back of Sterling earlier than expected.
Big cheer from the Kop. Sterling off. Could be bad news for #LFC as Man City will now have 11 players for the second half.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) March 2, 2016
8pm: Raheem Sterling starts at Anfield.
9pm: Raheem Sterling is subbed off at half-time. pic.twitter.com/DbeZXg84xz
— bet365 (@bet365) March 2, 2016
Things Sterling can't finish: chance, growing a beard, a whole match.
— 🎅🏿John🎄 (@JWL1092) March 2, 2016
I thought Pellegrini said Sterling wouldn't be affected? 😂😂😂
— Mark (@Batchowski) March 2, 2016
— Toby (@TopiKnutas) March 2, 2016
Sterling who ?
— LS (@dadushiHIMSELF) March 2, 2016
Jon Flanagan, a product of the same youth academy that Sterling emerged from, had an excellent first-half up against his former teammate, setting the tone with a crunching tackle on the winger after four minutes.
The full-back’s performance and fine marshalling of Sterling was much appreciated by the gleeful Liverpool fans.
That is not right taking Sterling off, Flanagan was having so much fun.
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) March 2, 2016
— Sadio (@WarriorLFC) March 2, 2016
Flanno sending Sterling back to the reptile enclosure
— Josh (@JDLNNY) March 2, 2016
One supporter put Sterling’s performance down to one very specific thing and it has nothing to do with football.