‘Sterling doesn’t need to justify Liverpool exit’ – Man City move was right, says Barnes

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The England international has collected a number of major honours since leaving Anfield and is considered to have improved considerably as a player.

Raheem Sterling does not need to justify his decision to leave Liverpool for Manchester City to anyone, says former Reds star John Barnes.

The England international sparked controversy in the summer of 2015 when he opted to swap Anfield for the Etihad Stadium.

Having been eased onto a senior stage by the Reds, and earned recognition with the Three Lions, many on Merseyside were disappointed to see a player of such promise walk away.

Barnes, though, believes that Sterling made the call he felt was best for his personal future, with a move to Manchester having delivered a number of major honours – including back-to-back Premier League titles.

The ex-Liverpool and England midfielder told the Express: “Well if Liverpool win the Champions League this year, is it justifiable? Because then he could have won the Champions League. They say that it’s more important than the Premier League.

“Finishing second in the league by one point and winning the Champions League, who knows?

“You don’t have to justify your decision at all, you decided to leave so you don’t need to justify that to anybody else.

“As far as I’m concerned, he decided to leave and you have to accept that, it’s the name of the game but I don’t think he has to justify it because he does what he thinks is right for himself.”

Sterling was a rough diamond while on Liverpool’s books, but is considered to have improved markedly since working under Pep Guardiola.

His last two seasons have seen him break through the 20-goal barrier, while claiming the PFA Young Player of the Year prize for 2018-19.

Barnes added on the 24-year-old: “Liverpool are obviously in a good place as well, they haven’t won the league this year but Raheem over the last 18 months has improved immensely, which is down to Pep Guardiola.

“He needed someone like Pep to make better decisions on and off the ball, in terms of the way he dribbles, the way he passes and runs, be more creative and score more goals.

“He deserves all the plaudits he gets but I don’t think anyone should be judging him to decide whether he has justified his decision or not.

“When he left, even if he hasn’t done well, I’m not going to say he shouldn’t have left because he decided he wanted a new challenge and we need to accept that.”

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