Ibe sets himself targets - can this be a breakthrough season?

Jordon Ibe

He wants more game time, so can he establish himself as a key man in this Liverpool side at a young age?

Young Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe has said he is targeting a place in the first team for pre-season and the season ahead. 

Ibe has been talked about as a potential star for the future. He was handed his debut in a 1-0 final day win over Queens Park Rangers in the 2012/13 season, and made three more appearances during the last campaign for the Reds before a loan spell at Championship side Birmingham City towards the back end of the campaign. 

He starred in the 4-0 end of season friendly win against Shamrock Rovers in Dublin and demonstrated the pace, strength and versatility he can bring to the side that wasn't dissimilar to that of fellow youngster Raheem Sterling - who emerged as an integral part of the Reds side last season.

He told the club's website: "I'm still quite young, I'm only 18, so I need to stay grounded, watch the senior players in my position, keep working hard and hopefully I can do well this season.

"I thought I did well in the last game [against Shamrock] and other youngsters did well. It's just about working hard in pre-season and most of all impressing in pre-season and on tour."

It's no secret that Ibe is highly rated. Steven Gerrard said after his testimonial last pre-season that Ibe is going to be a 'brilliant' footballer. The 18-year-old seemed to impress during his loan spell and has been a stand-out performer at youth level. The reasoning behind Ibe's loan spell last season was for him to get more game time - but he did impress Rodgers enough at the club to be part of the first team squad on several occasions last season.

There will inevitably be comparisons to Sterling. Both players like running with the ball and taking on players, and play in similar positions. They're very quick players and technically astute. 

It looks as though that part of the field could be very competitive in the season ahead given the business done so far this summer. Adam Lallana has signed from Southampton and Lazar Markovic looks increasingly likely to complete his switch from Benfica. But with the Reds playing more games given their participation in the Champions League - Ibe could well be given an opportunity. If he takes the opportunity, Brendan Rodgers has shown he has no qualms about allowing younger players keep their place in the team if they impress. 

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