Sterling shines as City beat Arsenal in Emery’s 1st game

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Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos falls down in front of Manchester City's Raheem Sterling during the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates stadium in London, Sunday, Aug. 12. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos falls down in front of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling during the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates stadium in London, Sunday, Aug. 12. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

London (AP) — Pep Guardiola hopes to convince Raheem Sterling to stay at Manchester City for a long time.

The 23-year-old England forward scored his 50th Premier League goal as the champions began their Premier League title defence with a 2-0 win at Arsenal on Sunday.

Sterling has two years left to run on the five-year deal signed when he moved to City from Liverpool in July 2015.

“We are delighted with him and would like Raheem to stay,” Guardiola said. “We’ll do our effort to make him feel we count on him. And we count on him. We arrived after a difficult season and I told him I want to help him and would like him to be happy.

“In the end, the agents may not have agreements and that may not happen. But he knows, and his agent knows, we like him and want him a lot.”

Sterling’s finishing has been in the spotlight — it is almost three years since he scored for England — and he marked his goal after just 14 minutes with a cupped ear celebration at the Emirates Stadium.

“There’s been a lot of talking,” Sterling told broadcaster Sky Sports. “It’s just one of those things I get judged on. I’ve got to keep improving and getting more goals.”

Bernardo Silva struck in the second half as City exposed the size of the task facing new Arsenal manager Unai Emery. This was Arsenal’s first Premier League game since 1996 not being led by Arsene Wenger, who left the north London club in May.

Liverpool signaled their determination to challenge for the title by spending more than $200 million on players, more than any other Premier League team in the summer transfer window.

With debuts for Alisson in goal and Naby Keita in midfield, Liverpool opened with a 4-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah, who scored 44 times in his first season at Liverpool, took only 19 minutes to get off the mark at Anfield by meeting Andrew Robertson’s cross with a tap-in.

Another cross from Robertson opened up West Ham for Liverpool’s second in first-half stoppage time. James Milner’s cutback was turned into the net by Sadio Mane, who added a third eight minutes after the break.

Even after Salah was taken off, the Egyptian’s replacement, Daniel Sturridge, found the net late.

Liverpool, who finished fourth last season, haven’t won the English title since 1990.

“We know about our expectations and we realize there is a really positive atmosphere around us in the pre-season,” manager Juergen Klopp said. “That is good that people are positive, but this season will be unbelievably hard. We cannot be anything different than the challenger because we haven’t won anything since I came in.”

Also Sunday, Southampton and Burnley drew 0-0.