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Sterling embroiled in fresh controversy at Liverpool

Raheem Sterling has become embroiled in a fresh controversy after images of the Liverpool forward holding a shisha pipe alongside Reds team-mate and another rising star Jordon Ibe emerged yesterday.

Ibe and Sterling were pictured smoking shisha together. Credit: PA

Sterling has already earned the ire of club boss Brendan Rodgers after footage was released on Monday of the 20-year-old appearing to inhale the legal high nitrous oxide and then pass out.

Rodgers made it clear after Monday's 2-0 win over Newcastle that he expects better from his players and the Northern Irishman added he would talk to Sterling about the reports concerning his off-field behaviour.

The latest pictures, published in the Daily Mail, show both Sterling and 19-year-old winger Ibe holding shisha pipes and, according to the national newspaper, were taken at a London bar earlier this season.

It is the second time in a matter of days that Sterling has been photographed with a shisha pipe, with a Sunday newspaper also publishing pictures of him allegedly smoking from the instrument.

Liverpool did not wish to comment on the issue last night.

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Liverpool manager plans talks with Raheem Sterling

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

Sterling was on top form against Newcastle on Monday. Credit: PA

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.

– Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers

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Liverpool aware of Sterling 'nitrous oxide' footage

Raheem Sterling will be spoken to by the club. Credit: PA

Liverpool have said they are aware of footage of striker Raheem Sterling apparently taking nitrous oxide.

Pictures published on The Sun's website (£) appear to show the England international passing out unconscious after taking the substance, described as a legal high.

The report surfaced as Sterling was playing - and scoring - in Liverpool's Premier League game against Newcastle at Anfield.

A club spokesperson said: "We are aware of the story and intend to speak to the player. Any subsequent action will be taken internally."

Latest team news: Blackburn v Liverpool

Defender Emre Can misses the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Blackburn at Ewood Park as he serves a one-match ban.

Emre Can misses out for Liverpool. Credit: PA

Fellow centre-back Martin Skrtel and captain Steven Gerrard are also suspended so it seems likely Dejan Lovren will make his first start since the original tie against Rovers at Anfield over a month ago.

Striker Mario Balotelli, who missed Saturday's league defeat at Arsenal with a knee problem, will be assessed ahead of the short trip to East Lancashire.

Liverpool squad: Mignolet, Toure, Lovren, Sakho, Johnson, Henderson, Allen, Markovic, Sterling, Coutinho, Sturridge, Jones, Manquillo, Enrique, Brannagan, Lucas, Lambert, Borini, Balotelli.

Liverpool winger addresses 'money grabbing' rumours

Sterling doesn't want to be seen Credit: PA

Raheem Sterling has told the BBC he doesn't want to be seen "as a money grabbing 20 year-old" as rumours circulate about his contract discussions at Liverpool.

Reports in various UK newspapers this month have suggested that Sterling is refusing to sign a new £100,000 a week deal, although the only official comment from Liverpool revealed that talks have been postponed by Sterling's representatives until the summer.

Speaking to the BBC, he said:

I don't want to be perceived as a money grabbing 20 year-old. I just want to be seen as the kid that loves to play football.

– Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling

Reports: Kovacic to join Liverpool in May for £22m

Italian reports say Kovacic will join Liverpool. Credit: PA

Croatian international Mateo Kovacic will join Liverpool for £22m in May, according to reports in Italy today.

The Austrian born attacking midfielder has also been attracting interest from Arsenal, but reports in Italy suggest cash-strapped Inter are desperate to sell and the Reds have agreed to meet their asking price.

Kovacic, who turns 21 in May and has already racked up 19 caps for Croatia, joined the Serie A club in a deal worth around £11m back in January 2013.

Earlier today, we brought you reports that Brendan Rodgers is planning to rejuvenate his attacking options this summer by offloading a trio of first team stars.

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