Manuel Pellegrini is sure Raheem Sterling will handle the pressure when he makes his first visit to Anfield as a Manchester City player.
Sterling left Liverpool for the Etihad in acrimonious circumstances last summer and his every touch was booed by their fans during Sunday’s Capital One Cup final – including two glaring misses in front of goal.
The City winger, who cost the club £49m, can expect more of the same on Wednesday when the two sides meet again just three days after Pellegrini’s Wembley shoot-out win.
However his manager, who says Sterling will start at Anfield, believes the 21-year-old has the character to cope.
“I don’t know what the starting 11 will be yet, but one player who I’m sure will start is Raheem Sterling,” said Pellegrini. “He’s a young man, a young player starting his career, but he knows how to deal with pressure.
“He’ll receive the same treatment tomorrow as he did at the weekend, but I’m sure he can play without a problem, and he’ll be a very important player, as he was in last game.”
“I don’t have any doubts about him. It’s important for him to play under pressure, that’s what big players do. I have 100 per cent trust in Raheem. He will play tomorrow and he’ll be important.
“I think in the way he played the other day he demonstrated – maybe he missed a goal – he worked, was always concentrated, and he was difficult for Nathaniel Clyne one on one.”