Liverpool’s Jordon Ibe caused a bit of a stir last night.
Despite manager Jürgen Klopp making seven changes from midweek in yesterday’s 4-1 demolition of Stoke City, there was no place for the England under-21 international – even on the subs’ bench. What would have been his berth went to 18 year old Sheyi Ojo, who duly justified his selection by setting up Daniel Sturridge’s headed goal.
The 20 year old patently did not react well to the snub, and has gone to interesting lengths to show his displeasure at not being involved on Sunday.
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) April 10, 2016
Ibe has removed all references to Liverpool from his Twitter and Instagram biographies, which is what modern passive aggression looks like.
Big things were expected of Ibe this season – especially in the wake of Raheem Sterling’s departure last summer – but he has not been able to progress at a level at which Klopp is satisfied. He has, however, shown flashes of his talent at times this campaign.
The 20 year old has played less than fifteen minutes of first team football in over two months, and his last start in the Premier League came in January’s manic 5-4 win at Norwich (of which he lasted roughly an hour).
He looked uncomfortable playing for the England under-21s in last month’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland, and his subsequent red card led to manager Gareth Southgate offering his opinion that Ibe was suffering from a crisis in confidence:
“I think players, especially at Jordon’s age, go through peaks and troughs,
“He doesn’t look full of confidence at the minute: we have got to try and help him get to the level that we think we can achieve. He doesn’t look like he is in a rhythm.
“That is disappointing for him but no reason that he can’t find it again.”
While it would be easy to condemn Ibe’s actions as petulant, his age really should put things into context. He is unhappy – most players are when they aren’t selected – but he is still a young man and a young man’s reaction to a setback will almost always come with a dose of immaturity.
He might push for an exit in the summer, he might not – but condemnation of the player off the back of this should not be the default stance on the matter.
That being said, reactions like that will do nothing to help Ibe’s prospects of more game time. Klopp values togetherness within the squad as absolutely essential – throwing the toys out of the pram from any player will not endear him to the manager at any level.
At just 20 years old, Klopp is highly unlikely to just give up on the player, so a loan move could be in the offing. With more signings to come into Anfield this summer – as well as the return of Lazar Marković from his loan spell – Ibe will be pushed further down the pecking order. In that instance, a loan deal to another Premier League club might be Ibe’s best interests.
As would staying away from social media.