Prior to the return of Liverpool's internationals, Jordon Ibe was far and away Liverpool's most impressive player in the preseason. His sheer pace and power aided an otherwise stuttering Liverpool attack, and he provided a spark going forward while operating primarily down the left flank. Minutes dwindled as squad numbers swelled, but his string of impressive performances led some to suggest that he would be ready for a regular role in the senior squad this season.
With Liverpool's squad as deep as it's been in year, however, there's no guarantee of time, and it comes as no surprise the club have today confirmed that he'll be spending the season on loan at Derby County. It will be the young forward's second loan to the Championship in as many seasons, as he spent the latter part of last season at Birmingham, helping them secure survival in the dying minutes of the final day.
Derby hosted Andre Wisdom last season and narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League, falling to QPR in the playoff final at Wembley by a 1-0 scoreline. Steve McLaren has done an excellent job since taking the job early last season, and he's positive about the role Ibe will play as his side once again look to earn promotion to the top flight:
"We're delighted that Liverpool have again chosen to loan us one of their promising young players. Jordon Ibe is someone who we've been aware of for quite a while and have been impressed whenever we've seen him in action. He has a lot of potential and we believe that we can help his career development. He is a direct player with plenty of ability and he will certainly strengthen the attacking options we are able to call upon."
Ideally they'll call on him early and often, as he's one that many are expecting to make another leap forward over the coming year and be in contention for a spot in the first-team over the next few seasons. Derby currently sit in 7th place on seven points, just three off Nottingham Forest at the top after four matches. They'll face Ipswich Town this weekend and Forest on September 14, with Ibe set to join the England U20s in between as they take on Romania on September 5.