23 Jan 2016

Owen raves: 'Brilliant' young Liverpool attacker should 'definitely' start at Norwich today. Agree?

This time last year, Liverpool attacker Jordon Ibe had his loan spell cut short, and returned to Anfield to feature heavily in the first team. Since that rapid promotion, it's fair to say that Ibe has struggled for consistency, and his comparatively meager goals/assists return has continued into this season. To be fair, inconsistency is to be expected amongst teenage footballers, but according to Reds legend Michael Owen, Ibe is developing an important player for Liverpool.

Ibe had an impressive game against Exeter, and but for the crossbar, and some wayward finishing, he could've ended the match with a couple of goals, and several assists.

The key positive is that Ibe is frequently getting into the right positions, and when asked during commentary about Ibe's chances of staring against Norwich, Owen enthused:

"Definitely. He [Ibe] has been brilliant tonight, and his performances lately mean he should be one of the first names on the team sheet".

High praise indeed, but let's be honest here: Ibe excelled against a League Two team, and he *should* be dominating games against players who are - on paper - technically and tactically inferior.

The Premier League is a totally different ball-game, and the stats show that Ibe struggles to make an impact:

* This season: 0 goals/1 assist in 18 Prem games (One every 746 mins)

* LFC Total: 0 goals/2 assists in 32 Prem games (One every 720 mins)

Due to his age, Ibe should be under significantly less pressure to produce than, say, Adam Lallana, who is an experienced international in the prime of his career.

However, like every other LFC attacking midfielder, Ibe's end product in the league needs to significantly improve, or - long-term - he'll struggle to maintain his place in the team.

'First name on the teamsheet'? Not quite, but using the merit system, Ibe arguably deserves to start after his midweek performance, and with Lallana almost certainly out of the game, there's another space in the team that needs to be filled.

Author: Jaimie K


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