Raheem Sterling has revealed why he felt a tinge of relief entwined with his sheer joy at scoring the 'best goal' of his fledgling career so far against Manchester City.

The 19-year-old broke the deadlock after just six minutes inside a raucous Anfield; showing composure that belied his tender age in latching onto Luis Suarez's through ball, side-stepping the visiting defence and slotting into an unguarded Kop end net.

The effort sparked great scenes of celebration and ultimately proved crucial in ensuring the Reds claimed a 3-2 victory; however, Sterling admits he could have been on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from teammate Daniel Sturridge had he not converted.

Asked by Liverpoolfc.com to talk through the goal, he explained with a smile: "I saw Luis turn with the ball, so my first thought was to get in behind and threaten.

"I got in, cut back in and saw Dan [Sturridge], but the selfishness in me said to try and go myself, so I shifted it back onto my right again and luckily enough it was an open net to slot home.

"It was a great pass from Luis and a great run from Dan to drag the defenders out of the way, so I need to give credit to both of them.

"I'm just thankful I slotted because if I hadn't I would have gotten a bit of stick off Daniel! It was a good feeling to score in such a big game."

Sterling's strike set Liverpool on their way to a 10th successive win and helped them strengthen their position at the top of the Barclays Premier League table.

So, is it fair to say he feels it was up there with his finest moments to date?

"Yeah, definitely," Sterling replies. "Scoring two against Arsenal was a big highlight for me, but [to score] in this match because it was a crucial game for us, it was definitely my best goal so far.

"It was definitely a big encouragement for the boys and a great team effort.

"Everyone worked really well. Even when it went to 2-2, everyone kept their character. It was a great all-round team performance and the fans were great as well, so it was a good day on the whole for Liverpool."

Sterling now has eight goals to his name for this season - his best ever return.

With four games remaining to add to that tally, he's aiming for double figures as he looks to play a key role in trying to help Liverpool secure a successful finish to the campaign.

He said: "Last year I only got two goals and should have had a few more.

"This year, I've taken a few chances and even missed a few as well, so I could be on 10 or thereabouts now if I'd taken my chances.

"It's a target for me in the rest of this season to knock a few more goals in and try to get into double figures. It'd be a great achievement for me."

Sterling's form in 2013-14 has been highlighted over recent weeks, not least by Brendan Rodgers, as Liverpool have swept all before them as they surged to the division's summit.

He attributes his high performance levels to working with those around him on a daily basis at Melwood.

"It's great playing with players like Luis and Dan," Sterling admitted. "They create chances out of nothing, and for someone like me, I've just got to be in and around it and be there to support.

"You might not get a goal every game, but there'll be opportunities with the chances they create, so I've just got to be around the box and learning from them on how they're getting into the box and making runs.

"That's what I am trying to do - learn from both of them and try to get my goal ratio up."

Liverpool's stunning opening to Sunday's win over City was typical of the pulsating manner in which they've begun home games this season, and it only served to raise the decibel levels inside an already rocking Anfield.

Indeed, the Reds were afforded a special welcome by fans lining the streets outside the stadium to welcome the team bus and show the players just how much backing they'll be receiving over the course of the next month.

So, for Sterling, had he ever experienced anything like those levels of support before?

"No," he says. "I've been to Wembley when I was younger and watched some games, and I've been with the first team as well. Obviously there is about 90,000 people there, but Sunday was all about the passion the fans showed even before the game, the chants and just the way the bus was rocking [driving into the stadium]. 

"It was different; something I'd never experienced before in my short footballing career so far. My heart was beating and I was raring to go.

"I'm really glad to be a part of this football club and thankful for the support."