Adam Lallana has admitted that Raheem Sterling’s public spat with Liverpool left him feeling sorry for the £49m winger.
Sterling finally left for Manchester City in the summer after his controversial transfer was played out in the media.
He faces Liverpool this weekend for the first time in opposition colours, with his England teammate Lallana saying: “I do have some sympathy for Raheem. It’s no secret that it could have all been dealt with a little bit better.
“A lot of it was in the public domain which wasn’t nice and wasn’t right for Raheem.
“He wanted to concentrate on his football last year but so much was made public and so many people were talking about it.
“At the end of the day he’s entitled to make his decision. He decided what he wanted to do.
“We said our goodbyes in the summer and wished him all the best for the future – not just me, but all the lads.”
Lallana has backed Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne to keep him quiet at the Etihad.
“Raheem will be a massive threat. We all know what he’s capable of with that great pace but I have got great confidence in Clyney. He’s so solid – not many people beat Clyney,” said Lallana.