Liverpool need to show they don't miss Sterling
Liverpool must prove they have firepower to hurt City
MAN CITY v LIVERPOOL
(Sunday, 1.30am, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)
Acrimonious departures never go down well with football fans.
When Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday morning (Singapore time), it will be the first time Raheem Sterling faces his former club since his big-money move four months ago.
The huge fee of £49 million ($105.9m) might have softened the blow, but it can't bury the hatchet.
In the sky blue of the Premier League leaders, Sterling will be walking alone.
From the stands, the Reds supporters will heckle and jeer their former favourite son.
But it is on the pitch where Liverpool can muster the perfect response to Sterling's scorn.
If Juergen Klopp's team can prove that they have already found the means to cope without Sterling's invention and wizardry, it will be the biggest slap in his face.
The Klopp revolution is still in its infancy.
The German inherited a dysfunctional team, but not a useless one.
He hasn't performed miracles, but he has steadied the ship.
Since taking charge of the Merseyside club just over a month ago, he has overseen three wins, three draws and one loss in all competitions.
He has returned cohesion, organisation and confidence to a squad sorely lacking conviction in their play.
Crucially, he is also showing signs of restoring the edge back in their notoriously shy attack.
Philippe Coutinho has scored three goals in his last two matches after going through 12 weeks without one.
In the 1-0 win over Bournemouth in the League Cup Round-of-16 tie three weeks ago, Roberto Firmino put in his best performance in a Liverpool shirt.
Klopp's faith in English teenager Jordan Ibe is seeing him get the best out of the exciting winger.
The ability to extract an extremely high work-rate out of players such as Adam Lallana is evidence of the German's powers of persuasion.
Liverpool have the firepower. It's a question of pulling the trigger.
If the attacking quartet, or whichever of them play against City, can feed striker Christian Benteke the chances which he thrives on, City will surely be in for a tough time.
Further down the road, Liverpool's options will increase.
Forward Daniel Sturridge has resumed full training and captain Jordan Henderson is nearing a return.
The January transfer window also offers the former Borussia Dortmund coach a chance to bring in players to execute his high-pressing, attacking brand of football.
But the Reds must be prepared to take the bad with the good.
Their last game ended in a disappointing 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace.
In Klopp's own words, he is "trying to build an aircraft while it's in flight".
So far, that plane hasn't made any distress calls yet.
Sterling claimed that his decision to jump ship was based on his footballing development.
Moving to City will make him a better player and at the same time improve his chances of winning trophies, he said.
No one should begrudge him the opportunity.
But, if Liverpool can show on City's territory that they aren't missing Sterling all that much, then they will have taken a big step forward.