Just as last weekend against Burnley, City were ahead with only a few minutes on the clock.
It is the scenario all visiting teams fear as containment and game plans go out of the window and it was Sterling who did the damage.
Kevin De Bruyne burst forward through the middle before playing a perfectly-weighted pass to Sterling who confidently slotted a low right-foot shot past the keeper and into the bottom left corner to end his six-game run without scoring.
Fulham kept City out for another 20 minutes, but when the lead was doubled, it was the same combination from the opener that did the damage.
Joao Cancelo fed Sterling who took the ball into the box, checked back inside and as he did, Joachim Andersen clipped his knee giving referee Jon Moss a simple decision in pointing to the spot.
De Bruyne may have missed his last effort against Liverpool, but he made no mistake with this one, sending the keeper the wrong way to put City 2-0 up.
The visitors were almost gifted a goal just past the half-hour as John Stones mopped up a Fulham attack and played the ball back towards Ederson – only the City No.1 had raced out and for a moment, it looked like the ball might end up in the back of his net, but it instead rolled wide for a corner.
City almost made it three just five minutes after the restart with a breakaway move that saw De Bruyne feed Jesus in space inside the box – he cut inside a challenge before teeing up De Bruyne who saw his shot strike the crossbar.
And De Bruyne will feel he should have scored again, when City again broke forward with Riyad Mahrez’s exquisite touch and through ball sending the captain clear but Areola saved well – and it wasn’t his first decent stop of the game.
Credit to Fulham for staying in a game that could have ended with a more damaging loss in a game where they competed well, if threatened Ederson’s goal rarely.
City easing though the gears
Much has been made of City’s start to the 2020/21 Premier League season, but this victory – at least for a time – meant Pep Guardiola’s side were just three points off the top for at least a few hours.
It means that, for all the games that haven’t panned out our way earlier in the campaign, City have not lost any ground and are in the thick of this title race – albeit at a very early stage.
Goals are starting to come, too – though there will be disappointment the margin of victory wasn’t greater against Fulham with the shots ratio still high compared with the chances converted.