Sterling opened the scoring just before half-time, volleying home another superb Kevin De Bruyne assist, as Pep Guardiola’s men resumed Premier League action after a three-month postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a 3-0 triumph over Arsenal.
Uncharacteristically, the goal marked the forward’s first in 28 attempts this calendar year and the England star conceded his frustration with the duck, expressing his delight to write his name back onto the scoresheet.
"It's something I beat myself up about but I knew at some point, I'd get an opportunity,” he reflected.
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"You have to take it and that's what I did today.
"It's been a confusing couple of weeks - we didn't know where we were at.
"We were buzzing to be back at the Stadium - on home turf - and we put in a good performance.
"We expected it to be weird. The message when we came back from the break was to 'find something within ourselves - to dig deep.'
"The first ten minutes, we were getting used to the atmosphere, getting the cobwebs off.
"We controlled the game and took our chances. The boys kept their composure and fought to the end.
"In the last couple of days, the boys tested negative so we celebrated in the right manner.
"We weren't too close - little fist bumps won't hurt anyone.”
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Sterling had been impressed with the centre-back’s display and wished him a speedy recovery.
“Eric had a fantastic game. He fitted in really well and was composed,” he said.
"We were sad to see him go off like that.
"It looked quite bad but after, he looked a bit more like himself."
Upon referee Anthony Taylor’s first whistle, the players and staff ‘took the knee’ in support of #BlackLivesMatter.
In addition, the Premier League also offered support of the campaign with ‘Black Lives Matter’ replacing players' names on the back of shirts, while a video reinforcing that message of solidarity was also played before kick-off.
Sterling – an ambassador in tackling racism – was proud of the statements and hopes their impact will spark positive change.
"I see it as a massive step for the Premier League - to allow something like that to happen,” he continued.
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"It showed we're going in the right direction – little by little, we're seeing change.
"That's what everyone's hoping for - not just black players; the majority of the country.
"(Taking the knee) was natural, organic. That's the most important thing.
"We'd seen the other teams do it in the earlier kick-off (Aston Villa v Sheffield United) and we thought: we have to do it as well."
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