Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe has been ruled out for at least the next four weeks, after Reds medical staff discovered the full extent of knee ligament damage suffered against Besiktas.
Ibe has been revelation since for Liverpool in 2015, producing a series of composed, mature performances that hint at a long-term future at the hearts of an exciting, attack-minded team at Anfield.
The 19-year-old won't feature again until April though, with The Telegraph reporting that tests on his knee last weekend have delivered a huge blow for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.
Ibe will prove difficult to replace
It may sound slightly strange to rate the teenager's absence for key games against the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal as a big problem for Liverpool, but that's how impressive Ibe has been over the last six weeks.
Ibe has made the right-wing back position his own in a revamped system that's helped Liverpool return to form, matching surprising strength and positional awareness to raw pace.
Rodgers turned to Lazar Markovic to fill the void against Manchester City yesterday and the move just about worked, with Adam Lallana also filling in late on in an unfamiliar position.
Contract situation can now be sorted
One silver lining to Ibe's enforced spell on the sidelines is it gives Liverpool the opportunity to get the promising youngster tied down to a new long-term contract.
Ibe's current deal runs until 2017, but only sees the winger pick up a £6,000-a-week salary that belies his new star status.
Liverpool should reward his recent efforts with a big pay rise, because otherwise you can bet every top team in the country will look to take advantage.
Liverpool fans, how much has Ibe impressed you over the last two months? Does he have what it takes to win his place back when fully fit? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below.
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