Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has spoken highly of 'brilliant' Liverpool, admitting that it was important for the Premier League leaders to take advantage of his former club dropping points this weekend.

Sterling scored twice as City hammered Southampton 6-1 on Sunday, just under 24 hours after the Reds had been held to a 1-1 draw by a resurgent Arsenal. And the England winger and his teammates were well aware of the opportunity to open up a lead at the top of the table.

Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

"After Liverpool dropped points it was important that we won. They are a brilliant side," he is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.

"It was a good day's work from the team. The boys came out well. You can get complacent at home but started well and carried on throughout the game," Sterling explained.

"These are the games we need to capitalise on. The top teams drop points, we need to win. I thought it was a great team performance. Not just with the ball. We were brilliant at times."

Sterling scored the fourth and fifth City goals of the day either side of half-time against a poor Southampton side at the Etihad Stadium. They were his 49th and 50th for the club since joining for £49m in 2015, while he also has 54 assists to his name during that time.

After what was actually a disappointing start to his City career, Sterling has been transformed since Pep Guardiola arrived as manager in 2016. And the boss explains that what has changed to prompt the upturn in form is the player's mentality and decision making.

"The first season, he was scared. He was looking, who is the guy I am going to pass the ball to? We spoke about that and said: 'Try to score goals. Now you have the feeling, where is the goal and go over there'," Guardiola is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.


"I have the feeling he is now enjoying scoring goals and making assists. He is becoming a winning player. He is stable and is focused on what he has to do to become a better player.

"He is more mature now than he was when we first met at the club. He believes more in himself. Hopefully he can be more ambitious and think he can improve. He is 23 and he can be a better player."

Sterling and City are back in action on Wednesday when Shakhtar Donetsk are the visitors to Manchester in matchday four of the Champions League group stage.