LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 2, 2016: Manchester City's Raheem Sterling in action against Liverpool during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I DON’T have heroes. I’m 52 — I’m too old for heroes now. I can see the faults in most people — that they’re just people with the same faults as the rest of us and the same ability to be pretty decent or a bit of a knob depending on circumstances. They’re as capable of letting you down as anybody else

Except Kenny. Obviously. Kenny will always be my hero for every single reason that he’ll always be yours. Doesn’t matter how old I live to be — Kenny will always be my hero. Kenny’s never let me down.

I don’t believe in role models, either. Not famous ones. Why would you base your life skills on those of somebody who doesn’t live your life?

If you’re taking a Kardashian (whatever that actually is) or a Kanye as your choice of template for your daily existence then, soz, you’re doing your daily existence all wrong.

You want role models? Look to real people. Look to your family. Famous people? Nah. Footballers as role models? Out-of-touch young millionaires who have had their every need serviced since they first had a birthday that contained the suffix ‘teen’ as examples? No. Don’t do it.

At their worst, they have a thoroughly skewed view of life. At their best, they’re just lads who are still young and might make the odd mistake and might listen to their mates when they shouldn’t and might take the wrong advice and might, themselves, have the wrong role models to look to.

I’d love to feel sorry for Raheem Sterling. There’s part of me that thinks he’s just this lad and might not be that sharp and people may be taking advantage of his skills for their own ends and he may come to regret some of the decisions he’s made. But then there’s this other part that think he put himself here — put himself where he is, wanted more than he had, and he can take the consequences.

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Last night was glorious, wasn’t it? Utterly glorious. There may not be a piece of silverware at the end of a game like that but there’s a marker laid down — a statement of intent and ability.

There’s a ‘we hated Sunday and we’re going to make you bastards suffer for that’ edge to it. There’s a definite touch of ‘we’ve learned what it feels like to lose and we’re going to use that feeling to make sure that we never feel it again’ running through the whole evening’s performance.

There’s the moment when the City fans — those that could be bothered travelling the twenty-eight miles or so to watch their team try to claw its way back into the title race — stop singing about “Raheem winning the League Cup” and “Ste Gerrard, Gerrard slipping and falling on his arse” (while not appreciating that Gerrard has the one trophy that dream of and not appreciating they’re only Man City and that, if the city council hadn’t given them a lovely shiny new stadium to play in for free, they would still be that old Man City with the stupid inflatable sodding bananas and the oil dollars would never have come anywhere near them and we’d probably all still be relatively okay with them) and realise that the league has just disappeared into the distance and they’re not getting back into that one.

There’s that moment when they realise — I presume they have — that they spent £50million on Sterling and £60m on DeBruyne and they’ve got the League Cup to show for it.

Sorry, got sidelined. Raheem. I was getting to the Raheem issue wasn’t I? £50m. What do you get for £50m nowadays? The potential of a decent player who still doesn’t consistently impact games when his team most needs him to.

So you get the fact that he could have been City’s hero at Wembley, could have rubbed our noses in his own abilities. IF he’d worked on his finishing since he moved. IF he could be relied on to put the ball in the back of the net. A year on from deciding that he wanted to leave us and could anybody say that he’s progressed? Really? At all?

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The abuse that Sterling took with every touch last night was expected and brought about by both his and his agent’s behaviour in the summer.

Change your story and your stance often enough and there’s every chance that we might think you’re not quite being straight about something. Manipulate BBC interviews to set yourself up as harshly treated and claim that you’re not about the money in a way that tells the world the exact opposite and we may not trust everything you say.

I don’t feel proud about this, and I’m not saying it in order to put forward a message of, ‘look, I kind of knew all along, look how right I was. I, my friends, am ITfuckingK’ but, when Raheem first broke into the team, I had a conversation with a colleague about his abilities and about whether we had a new hero, a new figurehead.

“I just have this feeling,” I said, “that he’s just not a particularly nice kid.”

Told you, it’s not a nice thing to say and I don’t know the lad and maybe it’s that old Scouse thing of not taking to Southerners who look as though they may be a little bit flash in their ways (and that’s not ALL Southerners, I have some very nice mates from the South — I’m thinking of the sort of lads who go to West ‘aaaaam and flash fivers at the fans in the away end) but I just didn’t feel right about him.

It’s probably the modern equivalent of the Robbie Fowler/Michael Owen situation.

I’m not suggesting for one second that Owen was flash or duplicitous or unpleasant — I think the worst that can be levelled at the lad is that he’s a bit dull and should probably not talk about footie on the telly.

That, and he made some very bad decisions in his career. Real, Newcastle, United. Bad decisions like that. I reckon, deep down — and possibly not even that deep if we’re honest — he knows that he got each one of those wrong.

I reckon he knows that there are many who hate him for those decisions and I reckon he knows that there are many who never took to him while he played for us.

I never got that myself. I was looking at this lad on the field who was probably the best in the world at putting the ball in the back of the net — we should have worshipped him. But. But. He wasn’t one of us.

Robbie was one of us but Michael made comments about his England career and the rest of the country thought of him as an England player first and then, only then — if at all — a Liverpool player.

Meanwhile, England weren’t actually intelligent enough to use Robbie as they should have. So we refused to love Michael Owen, never allowed him to be a true hero, a true legend. He know this, he’s an intelligent lad. I think he probably regrets it.

I don’t think Raheem regrets much. I don’t think he regrets last night. He’ll think we’re wrong but still….that cheer when the substitution was announced? That moment when we knew that Pellegrini had pulled him and that Flanno had won? That moment when it was apparent that doing a Carra on him in the first minute, being applauded by your captain as he surged past you, was a really good idea. Quite surprised to be honest; I though he was having a decent game on the whole. Thought he was giving Flanno problems in the first half and young Jon had the most comfortable second half any player has ever had in their lives. Think Pellegrini got it wrong.

Or maybe he got it right, maybe the lad’s head had gone. Kind of hope it was the latter. Which is also not a very nice thing to admit. Bit vindictive on the whole.

Tell you this though — the City fans don’t like him either. We may be treating him with the kind of vitriol that we reserve for the likes of…well, just Wayne Rooney if we’re honest.

He’s at a Rooney-esque level of hatred and that’s quite impressive for such a young lad, but the City fans don’t get him. They don’t rate him. They don’t see what they’ve paid for. They’re not seeing £50m on the pitch. Well, they are, but it doesn’t look like £50m.

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Me and our kid were in that lovely large queue to get to Wembley station on Sunday evening and I was doing the Twitter thing and I came across this tweet from a betting company: “Trophies won in 2015/16 — Raheem Sterling 1 Liverpool 0.” I read it to our Kev and I appended the reasonable comment: “Well, they can fuck right off.”

And the woman next to me turned and said: “Never mind, you can still beat United for us next week.” And patted my back.

In fairness, she seemed quite nice. Not a Manc accent but she could have been a fan in the ‘normal old City’ years.

Avoiding the obvious: “I have personal space issues, love, and I don’t know you, don’t touch me” or “You’ve just won a cup, why are you out here next to me given that I left as the last pen hit the net, shouldn’t you still be in there?” arguments, I went instead with: “The point I was actually making was about (Betfair? Bettered? Freebet? Whoever) thinking that match had anything to do with Sterling.”

And we entered into a conversation that revolved around me saying “we knew that he was still only potential, nothing more” and her saying “you can have him back if you like” and our Kev quietly demurring on the offer. Which probably wasn’t hers to make, to be honest.

But it’s there, isn’t it? They don’t particularly like him, they don’t rate him, they don’t see what difference he makes.

As of last night they’ve looked at us, seen that we’ve stopped their league dreams, seen that we’ve faced them three times this season, have won two and drawn one and scored eight goals to their two and they’ve looked at this lad who spent the second 45 minutes on the bench watching his old team take apart the new team that he supposedly moved to for glory.

And there may be the chance that Pep will come in next season and drag every ounce of potential out of Raheem and make him a star. At which point he’ll probably look for the move to Real or Barca. What he won’t make him is a hero. Heroes do everything for their team while others look for the next move, the next chance, the next opportunity.

Raheem is currently residing in the world of the Rodwell, the Moses, the Zaha; the players who could have been worshipped, could have been legends but wanted more.

I’d love to feel sorry for Raheem Sterling. I don’t.

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