Raheem Sterling will have to explain himself, says Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers
Raheem Sterling will face an internal investigation by Liverpool after a video emerged of him seeming to take nitrous oxide, a legal high which has potentially fatal side effects.
The 20-year-old who is in the middle of a contractual dispute with the club, was filmed inhaling "laughing gas" from a balloon and collapsing to the floor of his living room.
The video was posted on The Sun website. Twenty-four hours earlier, pictures had emerged of him allegedly inhaling from a shisha pipe.
In a statement last night, Liverpool said: "We are aware of the story and intend to speak to the player. Any subsequent action will be taken internally."
For the England international, who showed his promise with a wonderfully taken goal in the 2-0 win over Newcastle United last night that put Liverpool four points behind Manchester City in the race for Champions League places, the film could not have emerged at a worse time.
Having rejected Liverpool's offer of a new contract worth £100,000 a week - his agent, Aidy Ward, is holding out for at least half as much again - and given an interview to the BBC in which he announced he wished to play for a club that won trophies, he was heckled last Friday when Liverpool launched their new kit.
Pool boss Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Sterling will face an investigation and added: "It is one where internally, we will always look after these type of items.
"He is a young kid who is in the spotlight now.
"He knows the demands of being a top class player and professional, both on off the field. I will speak with him about it and we will move on."
On Sterling's on-the-field display, Rodgers said: "He is very valuable. He is a kid who's non-stop, he wants to learn and improve himself.
"I thought he was outstanding tonight. Wonderful skill and ability for his goal.
"I thought we showed attacking intent in the game, won the ball back quickly and controlled the game until the last five or six minutes in the first half, when we started to give the ball away too cheaply."
Rodgers was full of praise for midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
"I think Philippe was incredible, sensational. He played in that hole between the midfield and their defence and was outstanding," said the Ulsterman.
"He showed why he is one of the best players in the best league in the world."
Newcastle had what looked a strong shout for a penalty when Dejan Lovren appeared to foul Ayoze Perez in the area, and manager John Carver was frustrated by the decision.
"Huge decisions change games. I thought at the time it was a stonewall penalty and I still do," he said.