Raheem Sterling a Liverpool distraction - Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher and Raheem Sterling
Jamie Carragher feels Raheem Sterling's off-the-pitch decisions have proven costly

The off-the-field behaviour of Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has become a "distraction", according to former defender Jamie Carragher.

Sterling, 20, has held talks with Reds manager Brendan Rodgers after being photographed using a shisha pipe and appearing to inhale nitrous oxide.

"Even if you don't talk about it, it is in the background," said Carragher, 37.

Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling is a "good boy"

"Rodgers is asked the day before a game, when he should be talking football he's thinking about Sterling."

Carragher, who made 737 appearances for Liverpool - below only Ian Callaghan in the club's record-appearance list - also believes Sterling's interview with BBC Sport - unsanctioned by the club - was an issue.

Sterling explained he had turned down a new contract offer worth £100,000-a-week but said he is "not about the money".

Rodgers not under pressure - Carragher

"As young players, and I have been guilty myself, we have made mistakes but hopefully this will be a maturing point for him," Carragher added.

Rodgers told BBC Sport's Football Focus his player - nominated for the PFA's Young Player of the Year award this week - will look back on recent events and "wonder what he was doing".

Asked if players would intervene in this situation, Carragher, who was speaking at the Telford Tigers'external-link end of season awards, added: "If it continually happens you know you've got a problem and you may need to pull someone and have a word with them."

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