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.

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Brendan Rodgers insists 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".

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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' 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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