Losing Raheem Sterling may have been a blow for Liverpool, but players moving on is part of football, and it’s up to those still at the club to make up for his departure. For some, it may even be an opportunity to step up and show what they can do. At least that’s how young attacker Jordon Ibe is looking at it.
"Football is about chances," the 19-year-old winger said before Liverpool left Adelaide, on their way to Kuala Lumpur for the final stop of their pre-season tour on Friday against a Malaysia XI. "Raheem is a great player, but hopefully now I will get a chance to play and prove to the manager that I can play in the Premier League."
Ibe would have got the chance to play even with Sterling around, as he impressed greatly over the spring following his recall from Derby County. Sterling’s departure, though, will almost certainly mean a larger role for him, and the early signs from pre-season are that he will be ready to step up and take that larger role on.
"I’m enjoying playing on the wing with Nathaniel, and all of the new players have done well," added Ibe, who looked at home on the right with Liverpool’s new fullback on Monday. "I've enjoyed it. We have been doing double training sessions, and hopefully we can end the tour with another win in Malaysia on Friday."
So far, Ibe has been one of the pre-season standouts, though a water-logged pitch hampered his efforts in Melbourne. In Adelaide, though, he was clearly one of the most talented players out there, and at the very least this season he should get to scare defenders as a late substitute in the Premier League and start cup matches.
If things click for Ibe, he could take on an even larger role, though it’s worth remembering that for all his clear talent Ibe is still not 20. Time is very much on his side, and no matter the specific role, Sterling’s departure will give him a chance to step up. Hopefully he can take it.