As we gradually step into the chaos of the festive fixtures, it has been the turn of another Premier League player to reach the 100 goals club this season. After Liverpool icons Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane achieved the milestone in the autumn, this time it was former Liverpool prodigy and long-time Manchester City star Raheem Sterling who passed the century mark with a successful penalty in City’s narrow 1-0 triumph over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Since bursting onto the scene as a teenager almost a decade ago, Raheem Sterling has left a definitive mark on Premier League history. After rising to prominence during Liverpool’s near-miss at the title in 2014, he left Merseyside to join Manchester City a year later, a move that was much derided at the time. In the years since, though, Sterling has flourished into a brilliant forward under Pep Guardiola, playing a starring role in City’s back-to-back title wins of 2018 and 2019.
Having been around for such a long time, it is hard to believe that the England international has only just turned 27, and likely has plenty more to offer over the coming years. Undoubtedly one of the most talented English players of his generation, here we look back on five defining goals from Raheem Sterling’s Premier League career.
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Best Raheem Sterling’s goals in Premier League
First goal: Vs Reading (20th October 2012)
It seems like an eternity ago now that Sterling was wearing the red of Liverpool, but the winger scored 18 Premier League goals during his three seasons as a regular starter at the club.
The first of those 18 goals came in 2012 when Sterling was just 17 years old. After controlling a flicked through ball against Reading, the teenager raced away from the nearest defender before firing into the far corner to put the hosts 1-0 up, a scoreline that would remain until the final whistle.
From the moment of that first goal, his value started to rise dramatically at Liverpool, before he would eventually make the short journey to Manchester just under three years later.
100th goal: Vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (11th December 2021)
Raheem Sterling’s century of goals began with a strike in a 1-0 win, so it’s rather fitting that it should end that way too.
This time, it came during the second half of a hard fought match for league leaders Manchester City against Wolverhampton Wanderers. With the score level at 0-0, City were awarded a somewhat controversial penalty for a handball, but Sterling showed great composure to roll the ball straight down the middle and put his side into the lead.
His record from the spot has certainly been mixed over the years, but on this occasion it was a smart penalty that achieved the century milestone, and more importantly earned his team a crucial win.
Best goal: Vs Arsenal (12th August 2018)
The sight of Sterling cutting inside and smashing a shot into the far corner of the net has become an increasingly common one in recent years, but there was perhaps no better demonstration of it than against Arsenal on the opening day of 2018/19 Premier League season.
Picking the ball up on the left hand side, Sterling shimmied past two Arsenal defenders and into a central area, faked to shoot a couple of times before smashing a shot past Petr Cech and into the corner of the net from outside the area.
It was coincidentally his 50th Premier League goal, and one that set the tone for both his and Manchester City’s season, as City won the title and he scooped the FWA Footballer of the Year Award.
Most important goal: Vs Bournemouth (26th August 2017)
Most Premier League fans will remember Manchester City’s incredible 2017/18 season, in which the Citizens became the first (and only) side to reach 100 points in England’s top flight.
In the first month of the season though, City looked a far cry from reaching such heights. After stumbling to a draw in the second match of the season against Everton, City were on course for another disappointing draw against Bournemouth with the score level at 1-1 in stoppage time.
Enter Raheem Sterling. In the seventh minute of injury time, a loose ball dropped to City’s Number 7 in the box and his deflected first time effort dropped into the corner of the net to give his side an incredible late win.
It was the goal upon which Manchester City’s season entirely transformed. From the brink of another slip-up and losing early ground in the title race, Sterling earned City a vital result that would kick-start a record breaking 18-match winning run in the league and write the team’s name into English football history. It all started here with this remarkable moment on the South Coast.
Most memorable goal: Vs Southampton (29th November 2017)
Sterling’s late winner against Bournemouth may have been the goal to ignite Manchester City’s flawless form in the final months of 2017, but he scored an even more iconic goal in the middle of that exceptional run to bring his side an equally astonishing win.
Once again, the scores were tied at 1-1 in stoppage time, this time against Southampton, and it looked like City’s winning run was going to end at what was an already impressive tally of 11 in a row. But of course, Sterling had other ideas.
Five minutes of stoppage time were added. On exactly 95:00, Sterling received a 1-2 from Kevin De Bruyne on the edge of the box before instantly going for goal with a curling strike. The ball looped into the top corner of Fraser Forster’s net to gift City another remarkable win, one that maintained the team’s unstoppable march to the Premier League title as all competition quickly fell by the wayside.
Amongst all of his brilliant individual moments and late, late goals, this undoubtedly remains at the top as the goal that he will be remembered by.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.