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Watch: Jordon Ibe vs. Adelaide United

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Jordon Ibe is a work in progress, but having clearly already taken steps to improve the weaker aspects of his game, the sky is the limit. Take another look at his pre-season performance against Adelaide here.

Matt King/Getty Images

Jordon Ibe has always been a highly rated prospect in Liverpool circles. The departure of Raheem Sterling, though, has somehow managed to ratchet that up as fans and pundits feeling spurned by the club’s last next great youngster have been working overtime to anoint Ibe a player set to reach even greater heights.

After a waterlogged pitch in Melbourne hindered his efforts to live up to the newfound hype—or perhaps even to fuel it further—Adelaide and the third match of Liverpool’s pre-season tour gave him a chance to shine. And he certainly did, bombing up and down the right and looking dangerous throughout as he linked up with right back Nathaniel Clyne.

The end product, that final touch or pass or decision made in the box, isn’t quite up to Sterling’s level. Neither is his close control when he moves into the more congested central areas. His talent, though, is clear, and his sheer pace and physicality is probably a step beyond Sterling’s. It’s also clear he’s improved on the weaker areas of his game.

He may not be quite as cultured on the ball as Sterling, but he’s already well beyond where he was when he returned to Liverpool in January—and in January he had made clear strides improving his close control and decision making from when fans had seen him during the previous summer’s pre-season tour. It’s impossible not to be encouraged.

At least in the short term, it should mean a key role off the bench for Ibe and plenty of chances to run at tired defences. Throw in some cup starts, and it’s easy to imagine the youngster racking up 25-30 appearances for the club in all competitions over the coming season with an eye to becoming a key starter the following year.

Video by MrBoywunder