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Rodgers Says Ibe “Will Feature Heavily This Year” for Liverpool

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After an impressive pre-season, Brendan Rodgers says Jordon Ibe will have a key role to play in Liverpool's first team this year but wants fans to remember that he's still only 19 years old.

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Having impressed last season after returning from his loan spell with Derby County, Jordon Ibe has been one of Liverpool’s best in pre-season. With late-returning Philippe Coutinho and new signing Roberto Firmino in the mix, though, it may not be enough for him to start against Stoke City.

However, he will be a key member of the first team, and at only 19 years of age, it’s probably good Liverpool have a strong enough squad they won’t have to count on Ibe to deliver week in and week out as Sterling did at the same age. Ibe should still get plenty of minutes, just without the same pressure to deliver instantly.

"We mustn’t forget that he’s still only 19 years old," manager Brendan Rodgers said of the young star. "He broke into the team young and had some appearances. Then, we felt he needed a loan, and he went out and did really well. When he came back last season, he was exceptional. I think he really excites the supporters.

"He’s definitely a player we want to really help grow into a top class performer, but we’ve got to give him that time and we’re creating the environment for him to do that. You see how exciting he is, but he still has a lot of potential and a lot of work to do. He’s a player who will certainly feature heavily this year."

Ibe made seven appearances for Wycombe Wanderers as a 15-year-old before signing with Liverpool a year later for an undisclosed fee. He has spent time on loan with Birmingham City and Derby County, and has made a total of 63 senior first team appearances—while scoring seven goals—already in his career.

Seventeen of those appearances have been for Liverpool, with 12 coming following his return from Derby County in January. He has yet to score his first senior Liverpool goal, though judging by his pre-season performances and his expected first team role, it shouldn’t be very long in coming now.