The 19-year-old broke into the Reds starting XI after returning from a loan spell at Championship outfit Derby County during the second half of last season and turned in a man-of-the-match performance in the Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park last January.
He would continue to impress until sustaining a knee injury in the Europa League second leg tie away at Besiktas which halted his progress as he was ruled out for a month and struggled to recapture his earlier form upon his return to fitness.
Ibe was often deployed as a wing-back as Rodgers was reluctant to tinker with the 3-4-2-1 formation that galvanised the Merseyside outfit’s season after such a poor start and the Northern Irishman has hinted that the youngster is the natural replacement for Sterling on the flanks:
“He’s still very young, still 19 years of age… but I think you see the potential,” Rodgers said [via Mirror Online]
“It’s just about him continually working hard at his game. He’s still got a way to go for that consistency but I think everyone sees that potential.”
“I think he is a natural winger that likes to be on the outside. He’s happy to be in the duel and likes to set up the one vs one. His best position will be on the wing, for sure,” the Reds boss added.
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Ibe has certainly set about proving himself to Rodgers as he provided the assist for James Milner in the side’s 2-0 victory over A-League side Adelaide United on Monday morning as the Reds maintained their 100% record in pre-season.