Sterling could be thrown into Anfield fire

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The England forward became a target for disgruntled Reds fans when he left Merseyside in 2015 and still has not been forgiven by some.

Sterling did not start in the UEFA Champions League clash away to his former club in April, but Guardiola cited tactical reasons for that decision.

Ahead of Monday's (AEST) showdown with Jurgen Klopp's side, which is also unbeaten in the league, Guardiola said of Sterling's potential Anfield return: "It's not the first time.

"The reason why last season he didn't play was for another reason. It was for tactical movement, I wanted to go with Kyle Walker more attacking the right side than him.

"That was the plan and the idea. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

"When he is a player for a long time with us, sooner or later he will go many, many times to Anfield. That is normal.

"He grew up there, he has good memories about his career there. Of course the Liverpool fans want him to play bad, he wants to play good, but I didn't do that [leave him out] for those reasons."