The 19-year-old has spent the majority of this season on loan at Steve McClaren’s promotion chasing Derby County side and gradually improved as the season went on.
He scored five goals in 13 starts for the Rams – including an absolute belter in the 2-1 victory over Watford – and many at the Ipro Stadium were upset to see his loan spell cut short by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.
The decision was questioned in some quarters at first, especially given his progress in the East Midlands, but it has become evident that he’s needed on Merseyside and has the ability to make a difference.
However, not many envisaged Ibe getting the nod to start the Reds’ derby clash with Everton, but it proved a good decision as he excelled in a wing-back position, earning rave reviews from the skipper Gerrard.
“Ibe was fantastic. He only found out he was playing yesterday so to have 24 hours to prepare for a big match like this and be man of the match, it was a very sensational performance,” Gerrard explained.
“He was very unlucky not to get the winner with that unbelievable strike in the first half so he’s got a big future and, if he keeps working hard, he’s got a terrific future.”
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As per the stats provided by Opta, Ibe was heavily involved as an attacking force down the Reds’ right flank and he also provided good defensive cover when needed.
He took two shots, completed two successful dribbles and worked hard in making three ball recoveries, contributions which helped him gain the Man of the Match recognition.