Brendan Rodgers defends young Liverpool duo over controversial photos

first_img Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling 1 Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has defended youngsters Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe after a week when the off-field activities of both have come under scrutiny.Pictures dating back several months emerged of the two smoking a shisha pipe, while footage was also released of Sterling apparently inhaling laughing gas and then proceeding to pass out afterwards.Both have featured predominantly for the Reds this season and the Liverpool boss has called for a sense of perspective after a difficult week off the field.“I think both young players are aware of their responsibilities. All you can do is continually educate them,” said Rodgers.“It is [about] perspective as well. If you look at Raheem he didn’t do anything illegal. It was something he will look back on in years to come and it probably wasn’t the best thing to do.”Rodgers is nurturing a talented group of young players at Anfield and Sterling and Ibe epitomise the Reds’ desired approach, and the Irishman believes these experiences are all part of a learning curve.He said: “For me it is all about the welfare of the two young players; making them aware of the health issues which come with that and also about the professionalism and what they are representing.“They will make mistakes, whether it is those two or other young players. In the main young footballers are good people, they do a lot of things which go unnoticed. Sometimes they get caught out but that is just youth and learning.”Liverpool play Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday and could welcome back captain Steven Gerrard from suspension, although Rodgers remained coy on the prospect of the 34-year-old’s inclusion as he bids to end his Reds career in style.“He is definitely ready. We played a behind-closed-doors game here on Monday in which he and a few of the other players who have been out played in,” added the Liverpool boss.“The most important thing is his availability. He is a special footballer and Wembley is somewhere he knows very well. Whether he plays or doesn’t play he will be an important member of the squad for us on the day.”talkSPORT will bring you live coverage of Aston Villa against Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday from 3pm.last_img

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