Many players have been branded ‘the next big thing’ and often failed to achieve their full potential. For several years, the name Jordan Ibe quietly circulated the stands of Anfield, as the 19-year-old impressed at youth level and began to draw attention.
Liverpool fans love nothing more than to see youth from their Academy blossom, even if the player may not originate from Merseyside. Any youngster that graces the turf of Anfield is immediately taken into the hearts of fans and expected to automatically perform to a high standard.
Ibe made his debut for the Reds against Queens Park Rangers on the closing day of the 2012/13 Premier League season. The Englishman began his career with a flourish, similar to that of Steven Gerrard, but surpassed the ex-skipper by earning himself an assist on his first performance.
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Since the sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for £49 million this summer, Ibe has been the target of much scrutiny. Many fans expect the starlet to replicate the performances of Sterling which made him become a fan favourite, yet Ibe has managed just one goal in 31 appearances for Liverpool.
After his bright start to life in the Premier League, his performances earlier this season were a far cry from what was expected, and he was soon dropped as a result.
However, since the introduction of Jurgen Klopp, Ibe seems a player reinvigorated, showcasing his speed, skills and attacking prowess on a regular basis.
The German manager seems to share a strong relationship with the England Under-21 international, often seen joking with each other in training and exchanging hugs and smiles after most games.
Klopp has a good reputation with developing players too. During his time at Borussia Dortmund, he bought Robert Lewandowski for £3.3 million and turned him into arguably the best striker in the world, not to mention signing and nurturing the likes of Marco Reus, Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan.
Ibe has all the traits to become just as good as Sterling, if not better - it all depends on whether Klopp can hone the 19-year-old's strength, power and pace, as he has done with so many others in the past.
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