Liverpool F.C. boss Brendan Rodgers has revealed Jordon Ibe has looked “absolutely sensational” in training over the past two weeks as the player looks set to return to the Reds’ squad for Monday’s English Premier League match against Newcastle United.
The England youth international, 19, has been out since suffering a knee injury in the UEFA Europa League encounter at Besiktas in February.
Ibe, who set up Philippe Coutinho’s match-winner on his first-team debut back in May 2013 against Queens Park Rangers, has impressed in seven appearances in all competitions for Liverpool in 2014/15.
“Jordon Ibe will come back in,” Rodgers told the club’s official website. “I have got to say, he has looked absolutely sensational in training. He has been out for a while, but he has been out on the field for a couple of weeks now, doing his preparation work and he has joined in training.
“He has looked absolutely outstanding — he has got real natural fitness. He’ll come into the squad for Monday night. Some of the others that have been out are still out.”
Lucas: Sterling coping with criticism
In other news, Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva believes Raheem Sterling’s play on the pitch has not been effected by the increasing criticism he has faced in recent times regarding his contract talks with the club.
It is no secret that Sterling recently rejected a lucrative new deal–believed to be worth in the region of £100,000-a-week–from Liverpool.
Consequently, the England international has been heavily criticised for publicising the saga, but Lucas thinks he has done well to cope with such criticism.
“It’s incredible how much he [Sterling] can achieve,” said Lucas. “He’s got all the potential and of course there has been a lot of talk about his contract situation but he’s dealing with it well on the pitch.
“Off the pitch he is getting advice that he thinks is best for him. My advice for him would be to play football – although it is hard to give advice. He knows what’s best for him as do his agent and family.”
In addition, Lucas went on to praise team-mate Philippe Coutinho, who scored the winner in the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Blackburn on Wednesday evening, for his incredible form this season.
Lucas added: “He’s been scoring important goals for us and that’s what makes people talk about him.
“He knew he had to add goals to his game and he’s doing that this season. I think he’s got everything. You see the way he plays and how quick he thinks, he could be on the stage of world-class players. He’s only young.”