Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling pictured with shisha pipes

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New pictures of Raheem Sterling with a shisha pipe have emerged – but this time teammate Jordon Ibe is also involved.

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Photos of Sterling smoking a pipe also came out last week, while the vast majority of this morning’s newspapers led their sport sections with a piece on the 20 year-old inhaling nitrous oxide from a balloon – with most referring to the laughing gas by the rather sensationalist title of ‘Hippy Crack.’

Now, The Daily Mail have published yet another gallery of Sterling, with the usual spiel about a shisha session being as bad as 200 cigarettes.

We’re not disputing that.

Still, call us cynical, but there are just too many of these photos of Sterling coming out now to be coincidence, and it’s disappointing that Ibe’s now been roped into the story too.

The timing just seems too convenient – how long have the newspapers been holding on to these images to all release them at once?

Sterling last had his hair that length in December, so it is striking that it’s coming out now. What’s more, this gradual release of photos makes it seem like Sterling’s failing to learn his lesson after multiple public rebukes – when in reality, they might all have taken place before the first pictures were leaked.

We’re not condoning the players’ actions, but Arsenal have had two players caught smoking cigarettes this season in Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny, and the media reaction hasn’t felt nearly as extreme.

If Sterling is to reach his athletic potential, one could quite reasonably argue that shisha sessions and laughing gas intoxication aren’t the best way to do it.

However, with all these stories coming out in the wake of Sterling’s public admission he does not want enter discussions over his Liverpool future until the end of the season, it’s hard not to feel like there’s an agenda here.

What do you think, Reds?

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