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Ibe Targets Breakout Summer

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Looking to Raheem Sterling for inspiration, 18-year-old Jordon Ibe is targeting a breakout pre-season campaign that secures him a place in Liverpool's first team for the coming season.

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Scott Barbour

With pre-season kicking off on Wednesday and Liverpool's World Cup stars still on break, it's a chance for a few youngsters and fringe players to make an impression. A good showing against Brondby could mean staying in the mix once the likes of Gerrard and Henderson and Sterling and Sakho return, and a few good showings then could set the stage for a breakout season.

"For me personally, I'm trying to get into the first team and hopefully get minutes," said Jordon Ibe when asked what he hopes to accomplish by the time Liverpool kick off the season against Southampton. "I'll try to do well in pre-season first and see how it goes. I'm still quite young, I'm only 18, so I need to stay grounded, watch the senior players in my position, keep working hard and hopefully I can do well this season.

"It's just about working hard in pre-season and most of all impressing in pre-season and on tour. The manager's message was just to take it into the new season. It's very important, especially for the youngsters and the players who are not starting every week, to get into the manager's mind and be sharp as soon as we're back, ready for pre-season and going to America."

One of the players he'll be hoping to emulate is Raheem Sterling. After starting last season on the fringes of the first team, Sterling impressed when given his chance and now finds himself near the top of Brendan Rodgers' teamsheet. He also found himself one of the few bright spots of England's World Cup campaign thanks to a man of the match performance in the ten role against Italy

"He's only a year older than me so I need to follow in his footsteps, and watch all of the other attacking players," said Ibe of looking to Sterling for a blueprint to cracking the Liverpool first team this summer. "He's done well and scored a lot of goals. He's working hard all the time in training and impressing the manager. Because he's young, players are helping him, so hopefully they can do the same for me."

Ibe will be expected to play a major role for Liverpool on Wednesday against Brondby and Saturday against Preston along with new signing Emre Can and returning loanees Fabio Borini and Suso. Following the second match, Liverpool head to Boston to begin preparations for their North American tour, with the club's England contingent expected to join up at that time.