Football: Rodgers will talk to Sterling about not letting down his guard in public

LIVERPOOL (AFP) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he will talk to Raheem Sterling about his responsibilities as a professional footballer after a video emerged of the player apparently inhaling nitrous oxide.

The Sun newspaper published a clip of the England international supposedly taking the legal high - commonly known as laughing gas - on their website during Liverpool's 2-0 win over Newcastle United.

Sterling, who scored in the win over Newcastle which helped Liverpool close the gap on fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League to four points, has been under intense scrutiny recently.

The 20-year-old forward was pictured smoking from a shisha pipe last weekend, and recently revealed in an interview that he turned down a lucrative contract at Anfield which saw him light-heartedly heckled at Liverpool's kit launch.

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

"It is as simple as that. But I will speak to him. We want players here who are super-professional and focused on their football.

"Like I've said before, young players make mistakes. 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 and off the field."

Rodgers praised Sterling's influence on the pitch as he helped the Reds return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal.

Sterling scored a sublime opening goal in the ninth minute before Joe Allen added Liverpool's second after the break.

"You see the way Raheem plays," Rodgers added. "He is a kid that is very strong-willed and strong-minded. He should have had a hat-trick, his performance was outstanding, him and Coutinho."