The media hype over the past few months, has solely been over Raheem Sterling. Liverpool have another golden boy in their ranks, one that is eager and raring for a regular first-team berth next season. Jordon Ibe.
Admittedly, Liverpool‘s summer signings from last year have not proven themselves as particular successes – with the exception of young talent Emre Can – who needs to be deployed in a holding midfield role as opposed to play out of position at right-back. Mario Balotelli has blown hot and cold, mostly cold despite showing encouraging flashes in stages, but needs a fast strike partner to link up with. Daniel Sturridge on form is one of the best strikers in the league, but is often criticised for being too selfish, whilst Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini are not seen as good enough to lead the Liverpool frontline.
Danny Ings is a shrewd signing, albeit one that will come under some scrutiny, especially given the jump from relegated Burnley to the Reds, who have UEFA Champions League aspirations with a whole new atmosphere attached to the club itself. Lazar Markovic, who is still only 20, has shown glimpses of his potential, but has been used sparingly by Brendan Rodgers, which has been frustrating to watch for a team that look all too predictable at times and have been taken apart for doing just that.
Reds in need of attacking quality
For a team that have struggled over the past twelve months, attracting big-name strikers, who can do a good job at Anfield, will be hard to secure this summer for Rodgers, no matter how you look at it. If Liverpool can manage to keep hold of Sterling for perhaps one more season, and partner him alongside Ibe in a 4-1-2-1-2 formation ahead of Philippe Coutinho, who has been a shining light in an otherwise lacklustre campaign, they’d be able to combine well in attacking areas and use their blistering pace to create havoc for opposition defences.
Either way, Rodgers has a conundrum to sort out. Ings, Balotelli, Markovic, Sterling and others all want to play regular football, and that’s not even mentioning Divock Origi, who’ll also be hoping to take his chance at Merseyside upon arrival from his loan spell with Ligue 1 side Lille. If Ibe does continue to flourish and stay injury-free, which is easier said than done, there is no justifiable explanation as to why he cannot feature regularly in the team.
He’s already been pictured in training over the past few days, trying to recover from his knee injury in time for the official start of pre-season in July, where he’ll want to re-establish his glowing creditentials as a young talented player with potential that needs to be utilised effectively. Rodgers admitted a loan spell (at Derby County) did him a world of good, as he had first-team experience in the rigours of a top English league, albeit the second tier of the country, but even still, he came into his own element for the Reds when called upon in both the Europa League and Premier League already in 2015. If that’s not a sign of things to come, you’d struggle to find what exactly is.
With the likes of Sheyi Ojo and Jerome Sinclair patiently waiting for their time to shine amongst the first-team ranks in the not-too-distant future, they’ll be looking at the likes of Jordon and Raheem to aspire to become, a first-team regular who can establish their credentials based on impressing when they are given an opportunity to prove themselves at a high level of competition in a team still rebuilding to achieve their goals.