Football

Allen excited by Ibe's potential

FEARLESS: Jordon Ibe (in red) hit the post in the Merseyside Derby draw with Everton on Sunday.

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen believes the emergence of exciting teenaged winger Jordon Ibe is evidence the club's continued investment in young talent will pay off.

The 19-year-old made only the second Premier League start of his career and put in a Man-of-the-Match performance in the 224th Merseyside Derby, which finished in a goalless draw at Goodison Park on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

Excluding Steven Gerrard, the Reds' other attack-minded players were Raheem Sterling (20), Philippe Coutinho (22), Alberto Moreno (22) and Jordan Henderson (24) - and even Daniel Sturridge, coming off the bench, is still only 25.

Youthful exuberance, and the pace which accompanies it, has been a factor in the team's recent rejuvenation and Ibe's surprise inclusion only adds to that.

Playing on the right side of midfield rather than his accustomed winger role the youngster, bought from Wycombe Wanderers three years ago after 11 first-team appearances, produced Liverpool's best chance with a run and shot against the post with goalkeeper Joel Robles beaten.

His inclusion justified manager Brendan Rodgers' decision to recall him from a loan spell at Derby last month and Allen believes Ibe will complement the growing band of influential young players.

"He is an incredible talent. I saw him as a 16/17-year-old a couple of years ago and I thought, 'this guy has everything to go really far'," he said.

"He came in and proved that and with that performance he will be staking a claim for the starting 11.

"His raw attributes - his pace and power - and his ability to beat people for pace with the ball are frightening at times.

"That, coupled with the hard work he puts in, combined with the experience he has had on loan and getting games, has helped him come back stronger.

"He always seems confident when he goes out to play. He is a great player to have in our squad."

Liverpool host Tottenham tomorrow morning (Singapore time), a match they really need to win if they want to start making a move towards securing Champions League qualification for next season.

"We will give everything to get in that top four," said the Wales midfielder.

"We have ground to make up and we have work to do, but it starts in our next game against Spurs.

"They have picked up some points recently and had a great win against Arsenal, so we will need to make sure we give everything and be on top of our game.

"I think at the start of the season, they are a team you expect to be there or thereabouts and it makes for an exciting game." - PA Sport.