Liverpool have had some fine wingers in the past, dating from Steve Heighway, John Barnes and Steve McManaman. But of late we have not had a winger capable of hugging the touchline and getting chalk dust on his boots.
Most recently we have seen Raheem Sterling break into the Liverpool side and impressed in glimpses down the wing. But the young winger has not lived up to his high expectations since featuring regularly last season under Brendan Rodgers. Some say Sterling has burnt out, whilst other say he is a one-trick-pony and the defenders in the Premier League have figured him out and thus he is no longer as effective.
One thing Sterling has is bags of pace but very little trickery with his feet which is what the former great Liverpool wingers have also had. There is still room for Sterling in the current Liverpool squad but he needs to be given a chance to prove himself again like he did last season when he played in 17 of the opening 20 games.
But now another winger has emerged in the Liverpool setup; Jordan Ibe.
Ibe is still only 17-years old but is already showing signs of great promise. In the summer of 2012, Ibe was called into the first-team squad that toured North America and subsequently made his senior debut for the Reds in the final game of last season where he set up a goal for Coutinho.
Just like Sterling, Ibe has a tonne of pace but he seems to know how to use it better than Sterling. Ibe is also physically bigger than Sterling which bodes well in the Premier League. Watching Ibe brings back some flashes of the great John Barnes.
Ibe played for the Liverpool Under 21 side on Monday night against Middlesbrough and he was in fine form, having three assists in the game as Liverpool won 4-3.
Video courtesy of @MrBoywunder
As you can see from the video below, Ibe has a lot of potential. He has the pace needed for a winger, the ability to pick out a pass and a cross, and not a bad shot too. Given the right guidance and opportunities, Jordan could certainly flourish and become a Liverpool great. For that to happen though, Brendan Rodgers needs to start introducing wingers into the side as the current 3-5-2 formation does not accommodate the likes of Ibe or Sterling. Switching back to a 4-3-3 would give wingers in the squad an opportunity. If Rodgers is set on sticking to 3-5-2 then it may be best to send Sterling and Ibe out on loan and play regular football in a system that suites them best.