The Liverpool youngsters have both impressed in pre-season, which of Sterling and Ibe will play the bigger role for Brendan Rodgers’ side?
Considering he is only 18-years-old, Raheem Sterling might be forgiven for being a little surprised that he already has a young contender for his place in the Liverpool side for next season.
Las season Brendan Rodgers proved he was more than happy to play youngsters in his Premier League if he considered them ready, and even though Liverpool’s work in the transfer market in January and so far this summer might limit the playing time both Ibe and Sterling get next year, both will surely be given a chance at some point.
Sterling has the benefit of a season with the first team under his belt, having played 24 times in the Premier League last year, scoring twice. Ibe played just once, late in the year in a 1-0 victory over the doomed QPR, but enjoyed his outing and set up the only goal.
On first impressions, Ibe looks to be the stronger, more direct player, and that might help him settle into Premier League football. However although Sterling was inconsistent last season, as you would expect from a young player thrust into the Liverpool first team, he showed that he had the mettle to stand up for himself at a senior level, and perhaps has more skill on the ball than Ibe.
Ibe has commented on the rivalry between the pair, saying that Sterling had helped him a lot off the pitch, and that the elder player was already established in the first team.
That is true, and Sterling will start the year ahead of Ibe in the pecking order, but by the end of the season, it would not be surprising if Ibe had caught up his team-mate, and Liverpool could have two teenagers regularly playing in their side.
Liverpool fans, who do you think will be more important next season: Ibe or Sterling?
image: © kong niffe