Joe Hart does not think Liverpool fans will boo Raheem Sterling when they travel to face Premier League leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The 20-year-old has made an impressive start at his new club, scoring six times so far in 2015-16 after arriving from Anfield in a close-season move that could eventually be worth £49million.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini has urged Sterling to play “not with a cold heart, but with a cold head”, while Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp attempted to play down the England international’s first game against the Reds.
Hart does not think criticism will ever have an impact on his club and international team-mate, but is still not expecting Liverpool fans to target him when the game begins.
“I think the whole thing with Raheem has gone now,” the goalkeeper told Sky Sports.
“He got a few boos in pre-season around the world – Liverpool have got a big fan base – but they have got other things to worry about now.
“He is a very, very laid back guy and a great addition to our squad. He takes everything in his stride.
“I am a big fan of his and will back him all the way. He is the same guy whether he is getting pounded in the press or praised in the press.”
City go into the game top of the Premier League on goal difference, while the visitors are down in 10th.
Hart hopes to see his side make it three consecutive home victories over Liverpool having won the last two league meetings at the Etihad 2-1 and 3-1.
He continued: “It is a big game for us. It is a team that we have struggled against away from home recently but we have had better form at home.
“Obviously they have a new manager and I am sure they have a similar situation with people coming back from international duty and injury. We will be ready.”
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