MANCHESTER, England -- Raheem Sterling has to learn to cope with facing the abuse he receives when he returns to Anfield, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said.
Sterling, 23, has been booed during each game at Liverpool since his acrimonious move to City in 2015.
He has never produced his best form at his old club -- losing all four games with City -- and was a substitute for their most recent clash in April, when City were beaten 3-0 in the Champions League quarterfinal.
"The reason why last time he didn't [start] -- the only time he didn't [start] -- was for another reason, a tactical movement, so Kyle Walker can attack more on the right side than him," Guardiola said at a news conference. "That was always the plan. But I don't think about [the abuse] because even, if that happens, being so young, maybe it affects him, maybe it doesn't. I didn't speak with him. He has to learn to [deal] with that.
"When he is a player for a long time with us, hopefully he will be for a long time with us, he will go many, many times to Anfield. That is normal he will go out there. He has many good memories of his period there. Of course, the Liverpool fans want him to play bad and he wants to play good, but I won't [leave him out] for that reason."
City also have a terrible record at Anfield, losing 12 of their last 17 visits with their last victory in 2003. And striker Sergio Aguero has failed to score away against Liverpool in nine previous visits -- seven with City and two with former club Atletico Madrid.
Aguero has been playing through the pain of a sore heel in recent weeks, but Guardiola has no doubts about his ability to produce at Anfield as long as he has opportunities.
"It's football," Guardiola said. "Only when the team play better and play good the striker has more chances to score goals. When I see one player take the ball and dribble past three, four or five players and score the goal, it depends on him. We have many of them. We have to build something as a team.
"In that situation, we help strikers when that happens. Maybe we didn't help him like a team and help him to score more goals."