Not many clubs can afford to spend £49 million on a player and leave him on the bench in the Champions League semi-final, but Manchester City can.
Sterling was left on the bench for the first 70 minutes of City's crucial game with Real Madrid at the Etihad, the first leg of the tie.
He was overlooked earlier on as Kelechi Iheanacho was preferred to join the action by Manuel Pellegrini, but got his chance with 20 minutes to go.
The England ace was unable to break the deadlock, with the game ending 0-0, a better result for Real Madrid than City, especially considering their star man Cristiano Ronaldo missed the game through injury.
Sterling touched the ball just 11 times after coming on, and did not attempt a shot or create a goalscoring opportunity in a match which was more disappointing that anybody could have anticipated.
City managed only one shot on target, through Kevin de Bruyne, as Real held firm and stifled their attack.
Liverpool fans watching on had plenty to say about the winger, who this time last year was angling for an exit. He certainly had his wish of featuring in a high profile tie, but it would be wrong to imply he had a prominent role.
Here is a look at how Liverpool fans reacted on Twitter...
So Sterling is having a good game in this UCL semi...oh wait, that's him on the bench #LFC— Brock Kingsley (@brockkingsley) April 26, 2016
Fact is, I'd have sterling over lallana, Ibe or milner yet he's sat on the bench for city. #lfc— moneyball fc (@JOZ9T9) April 26, 2016