Brendan Rodgers believes Jordan Ibe has a massive future at Liverpool and has all the right attributes to become a top-class player.
Ibe signed for the Reds from Wycombe Wanderers for an undisclosed fee in 2011 and the south London native emerged through the club's academy ranks in Kirkby. Following loan spells at Birmingham City and Derby County, the England U20 international cut his time at Pride Park short in January to rejoin Rodgers' squad.
Ibe's impact has been superb since returning to Anfield and put in a number of eye-catching displays that have seen him awarded man of the match on several occasions. The 19-year-old has bagfuls of potential to become a star at the Merseyside outfit and Rodgers is backing the pacey winger to succeed at Liverpool.
“Jordon’s very important for us because he’s direct and wants to create and score goals,” the Northern Irishman told the Liverpool Echo.
“That’s how we work. The style of our team is to attack and be aggressive.
“He has worked well. During his spell out injured we missed that pace and penetration. He still has a long way to go in his development but he’s made some exciting steps.
“He takes on board the concepts and principles of the game but he also has this natural talent. He’s not the type of boy you want to over-coach.
“He has to know his function in the team, but he has beautiful balance and can go either way. He’s super fast and he has lovely technique.
“He loves to be wide and in the duel. As he gains more experience at a great club like this he will only get better.”
When it was announced that Ibe would be ending his loan spell at Derby County early and returning to Liverpool, it came as somewhat of a surprise.
Ibe was developing well at the Midlands club under Steve McClaren, who was giving the winger plenty of game-time. Many believed returning to Anfield would interrupt his solid progress in the first-half of the season and would be doomed to be sitting on the bench at the Reds.
However, the play-maker has been used significantly by Rodgers and has become a key player in the Liverpool squad. Ibe was given a surprise start against local rivals Everton shortly after he returned and almost sealed the three points for his side when his crashing shot fired against the crossbar.
What Ibe offers the Liverpool team is width on the right-hand side. He fits perfectly playing at right wing-back as he thrives when he picks the ball up from a deep position and builds momentum with his blistering pace frightening defenders. This was done to perfection when winning a penalty against Besiktas in the Europa League.
There have been plenty of rumours surrounding Raheem Sterling's future at Liverpool. Sterling has reportedly rejected a £100,000 a week contract at the Reds and put transfer negotiations on hold until the end of the season, consequently putting Europe's elite clubs on high alert.
If Sterling is to leave Anfield, Ibe is a perfect replacement. Although the latter is more of a winger he will be more capable of adapting to playing a free role within the final third of the pitch behind the striker and would likely be a nightmare for defenders in the position.
Ibe's efforts have already been rewarded by being offered a £30,000 a week contract to remain on Merseyside and, if he continues to impress, his weekly wage packet will soon likely increase to a bigger figure.
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