Sterling was in an offside position when the ball was chested through to him by Sergio Aguero and as the striker moved to strike with his right foot, a challenge from Daryl Janmaat meant the ball cannoned against his left leg and past Ben Foster.
"It's going alright for me and the team", Sterling said. When we did it [win], it belongs to us and nobody is going to change that.
Sterling netted a hat-trick in a second-half period of just 13 minutes 12 seconds. We were waiting for a few months to be top and now, we are top.
"I'm not too much concerned or anxious about what people say if we win the title just because [of] what happens now with UEFA [and] they do not give us credit for what we have done".
Sterling's second goal came quickly after the contentious opener and his third was a smart finish, taking his tally to 18 for the season in all competitions.
As usual, Pep Guardiola's side dominated possession but against such a bank of defenders showing no intention of pushing forward, the match was more like an "attack v defence" training session.
'I happened to get the luck, so I am happy with that. However, after a three minute delay, referee Paul Tierney overruled linesman Adrian Holmes and awarded the goal. "Impossible. Except if they sack me and after I go home".
The UEFA and Premier League cases have been sparked by leaked City correspondence published by German media outlet Der Spiegel.
'But it's a great way to cap the hat-trick off and I am really happy and pleased that the team got a massive three points and that's the most important thing'.
"The officials got this decision massively wrong", Jenas said on Match of the Day.
Southampton's late turnaround earned them crucial points in the fight to avoid relegation, just as Cardiff City were able to celebrate an equally important 2-0 win over West Ham United thanks to goals from Junior Hoilett and Victor Camarasa.
Javi Gracia made seven changes to his Watford starting eleven but the visitors proved miserly opponents as they frustrated Pep Guardiola's defending champions during the opening 45 minutes.
"We're just focused on one game at a time".
While the Reds still have a game in hand over the champions, the pressure is gradually being ramped up with every passing game.
'I think if I have to take my decision again, I'll do it the same way'.