Following earlier reports that Liverpool would recall 19-year-old Jordon Ibe from Derby County to strengthen the club’s attacking options in the second half of the season, we now have official confirmation of the move. Effective immediately, Ibe is once again a Liverpool player. He is available for selection immediately, and is expected to be in the lineup against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Sources with ties to the club believe that the club intend to keep Ibe at Liverpool for the rest of the season, and that the recall has nothing to do with his usage at Derby, where he had scored five goals in 24 appearances while helping Derby to push for promotion from the Championship. Though Ibe has spent most of his young career on the wing, it is possible that he is returning to Liverpool to bolster Brendan Rodgers’ striking options.
At Derby, Ibe had a solid goal return, scoring once in every two and a half matches he was on the pitch and recording a 16% strike rate. At times since arriving at Liverpool, Ibe has been projected to eventually become a striker. If, as appears increasingly likely, Liverpool make no new signings this window, Ibe could be handed the responsibility of backing up Daniel Sturridge for the remainder of the season.
"If we do bring him back it will be to contribute," Rodgers said earlier in the month when the possibility of recalling Ibe was first raised. "Ive seen Jordon in a lot of [Derby’s] games and he’s been outstanding. That’s the reason we sent him out—we felt that getting game experience would help him. He’s done very well. He’s 19 years of age and is going to be a great player for Liverpool in the future."
Liverpool had an option in Ibe’s loan deal with Derby allowing them to recall the player without penalty during the January transfer window. The young attacker is cup tied domestically and will not be available in either the League Cup or FA Cup, but he will be available to participate in the Europa League.