Raheem Sterling said Manchester City proved a point in a 4-0 thrashing of newly-crowned Premier League champions Liverpool on Thursday as they look to take the title back next season.
Sterling scored in a competitive match against his old club for the first time and also had a major part in two other goals as City inflicted just Liverpool's third league defeat in two seasons in emphatic fashion.
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Sterling was wrestled to the ground by Joe Gomez.
Sterling and Phil Foden then made it 3-0 before half-time and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could only turn Sterling's shot into his own net to round off the scoring in the second half.
"We had a test against the current champions to make a point and we did brilliant," said Sterling. "Next season started today and we did well."
City boss Pep Guardiola is hoping the manner of the victory can spur his side on to finish the season on a high by succeeding Liverpool as Champions League winners for the first time in the club's history.
"It is important," said Guardiola on the confidence boost for his side. "Especially because they were incredibly focused."
City had given Liverpool a guard of honour before kick-off in their first game since becoming champions.
"I saw them in the guard of honour and they were so focused, they didn't even say 'thank you'. That is why they are champions of Europe and the Premier League.
"They drank a lot of beers in the past week but they arrive here without beers in the blood to compete against us."
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, though, was adamant there had been no slacking in his side's attitude a week on from ending a 30-year wait to win the league.
"I wanted to see that we have really the right attitude. I saw that and the result we have to take," said Klopp.
"City is outstanding. They are incredible. I saw City's season and I didn't see a bad game, even when they lost."
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Laurence Griffiths