Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said Monday that he will speak with Raheem Sterling after video surfaced of the Reds forward apparently inhaling nitrous oxide.
A video obtained by British tabloid The Sun shows Sterling inhaling what appears to be nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas," from a balloon. The gas is commonly used as an anesthetic in dental procedures and is "a popluar legal high" in the UK, according to the BBC. Abuse of the drug is potentially dangerous, as it deprives the brain of oxygen.
Sterling scored the first goal in Monday's 2-0 win over Newcastle United. The goal was Sterling’s seventh in 30 Premier League games.
"When you are professional sportsperson at the top level of the game, I don’t think it is something you should be doing," Rodgers said, according to The Guardian. "It is as simple as that. But I will speak to him and see what he says about it."
Rodgers added that whatever disciplinary action the club takes will remain internal and also downplayed the idea that Sterling’s off-field behavior is a distraction.
The Sunday Mirror, another British tabloid, published photos on Sunday of Sterling smoking a shisha pipe.
Sterling, 20, is currently locked in a contract dispute with Liverpool. Negotiations on a new deal began in October but Sterling said last month that he would not have further discussions until after the end of the season.
- Phil Watson