Sunday 22 April 2018

Brendan Rodgers wants showdown talks with Raheem Sterling following alleged use of nitrous oxide

Brendan Rodgers has warned Raheem Sterling about the lifestyle he expects him to lead after the striker was apparently filmed taking nitrous oxide
Brendan Rodgers has warned Raheem Sterling about the lifestyle he expects him to lead after the striker was apparently filmed taking nitrous oxide Newsdesk Newsdesk

Raheem Sterling will have to explain himself to Liverpool after apparently being filmed inhaling the legal high nitrous oxide.

Manager Brendan Rodgers said he regarded the 20-year-old as "super-professional" but would need to speak to the England international about his lifestyle.

Footage of Sterling appearing to take 'laughing gas' and pass out unconscious emerged online during the Reds' 2-0 Barclays Premier League win over 10-man Newcastle at Anfield on Monday.

Sterling impressed on the field, scoring a superb opening goal inside nine minutes, although he later missed two clear-cut chances, and afterwards off-field issues dominated.

Rodgers said: "For me it is something that when you are a professional sportsperson at the top level of the game, I don't think it is something you should be doing. It is as simple as that.

"But I will speak to him on it, to see what he says. We want players here who are super-professional and focused on their football. I know he is, he very much is focused on his football and improving as a player.

"As I have said before, young players make mistakes. As long as they learn from them, that is what is important."

The matter adds to the controversy and negativity currently surrounding Sterling amid a wrangle over a new contract. Sterling risked the wrath of supporters a fortnight ago by admitting he had rejected a £100,000-per-week deal in an interview that was not sanctioned by the club.

Another newspaper also published pictures of him allegedly smoking a shisha pipe over the weekend.

Rodgers, who stressed that any repercussions would be dealt with internally, did not feel the matter would be a distraction.

He said: "You see the way he plays. He is a kid that is very strong-willed and strong-minded. He should have had a hat-trick, his performance was outstanding."

Rodgers' sentiments were echoed by Sterling's former Liverpool team-mate, now TV pundit, Jamie Carrager.

Carragher told Sky Sports: "It's just important he learns from it because Raheem Sterling, for how good a footballer he is, needs to be on the back pages, not on the front pages and that's a problem for him in these last few months.

"But he's a young player, he made a few mistakes and hopefully in years to come he learns from them."

Sterling was not the only player to catch the eye as Liverpool reignited their Champions League hopes with a dominant display. Philippe Coutinho, playing centre forward in the absence of the injured Daniel Sturridge, also excelled as the Reds created numerous opportunities in the opening half hour.

Newcastle weathered that storm and did rally before the break, with Ayoze Perez having a strong penalty appeal turned down.

Liverpool regrouped and secured victory with a second goal from Joe Allen after 70 minutes.

The win lifted them within four points of fourth-placed Manchester City.

Rodgers said: "The players and myself are very motivated to do the best we can, but we are looking for other teams to slip up and we have to continue winning."

Irish Independent

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