Rodgers expects big things from Ibe
WITH all the talk around Anfield heading in tonight's clash with Tottenham Hotspur about whether Raheem Sterling will sign a new deal with the club, another young Liverpool starlet is emerging as a real prospect for Brendan Rodgers' side.
Jordon Ibe shares the same birthday, albeit a year younger, as Sterling and parallels have already been drawn between the two.
Ibe was man of the match in Saturday's Merseyside derby, only his second Premier League start, and Rodgers has high hopes he can make similar progress to his fellow youngster.
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"He is a very talented player. If he was a foreign player everyone would be raving about him," he added.
"He is an incredible talent for someone so young and he can go into any arena in the world and play now.
"Hopefully that game will fast-track his development as it has a number of our younger players in the last two years. I expect big things from him but there is still a long way to go and a lot to learn but hopefully he could be a big influence for us."
Rodgers also plans to keep a close eye on Ibe, although he admits his treatment has not been the same as Sterling's.
"Each player is different. You can't throw a blanket over them and say he is the same," he said.
"Jordon is at an earlier stage and his pathway has been different - I felt he needed to go out on loan (to Birmingham and Derby) whereas Raheem went straight into the team.
"The objective is to maximise the potential and investment of the club so they can both play for Liverpool for many years to come.
"I know Jordon has the talent so it's a job to make sure they (younger players) know they have to continue to improve and not get carried away."
Ibe may well have to settle for a place on the bench for tonight's visit of top-four rivals Tottenham, but midfielder Lucas Leiva is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a thigh problem. "He is one that will miss a little bit of time, we are just waiting on the results of the scan," said the Reds boss.