Raheem Sterling sees similarities between him and Liverpool teammate Jordon Ibe

Jordon Ibe

The England forward has been more than impressed with how the club's rising star has taken to life in the first-team.

Raheem Sterling has lavished praise on Liverpool teammate Jordon Ibe, telling the Liverpool Echo of his delight at seeing his close friend make such a significant impact on the first-team.

Ibe, 19, joined Derby County on a season-long loan in August, netting five goals in 20 Championship games, before returning to Anfield last month after manager Brendan Rodgers opted to cut his stint at the iPro Stadium short.

The emerging winger has since proved a revelation at right wing-back in the club’s new-look 3-4-3 formation, earning four consecutive starts after two initial substitute appearances, with his animated performances earning him widespread plaudits from fans and the media alike.

With there now talk that he could be fast-tracked into the England senior setup, the Under-20 international has understandably been compared to fellow youngster Sterling, who readily admits that they both have much in common.

“We both like to get at players, we both like to be direct and score goals,” he said. “Jordon is a great player and he’s doing well. It’s not a case of really helping him, we’re nearly the same age, we just talk.

“It’s not me telling him that he should do this or that. I’m not a senior professional, I haven’t played 200 odd games for Liverpool or anything like that.

“I just try to give him advice and tell him to keep doing what he does, whether it is for the reserves, the under-18s or the seniors.”

Ibe now looks set to be rewarded with a bumper new long-term deal at Anfield, and Sterling believes his recent breakthrough is a testament to Rodgers’ willingness to put his faith in youth.

“The manager has blooded a lot of young players like myself and Jordon,” he added. “He puts you in at the deep end and it seems like at that moment you are ready.

“You look at Jordon against Everton, he was the best player on the pitch which is credit to the manager as well.

“Every young player is getting a chance when they show they are working hard on the training pitch and that is credit to the manager for giving them the chance to shine at the highest level.”

Ibe’s next test is set to be Thursday night’s second-leg of their Europa League last-32 clash at Besiktas, with the club taking a 1-0 aggregate lead into the intimidating atmosphere of the Ataturk Stadium, where they tasted Champions League glory in 2005.

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