Jordan Ibe: Hot Property

Liverpool v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League

Seldom do you see a fresh-faced 15 year old boy step onto a football pitch along with a group of adults, readying himself for just another professional outing with nPower League 2 outfit Wycombe Wanderers. But when you do see a player with a similar story and case to Jordan Ibe’s, one must assume that such a youngster possesses quality in abundance to have earned himself a place in the starting XI of any professional club at such a tender age. He also managed to score a goal in a league fixture for the Chairboys in his first and last season with his former club, and in doing so he attracted scouts of big clubs who were informed of his ability.

With such an impressive feat carried out by the attacker at such a young age comes much hype and transfer talk. It was only a matter of time before the starlet was snapped up by one of the big guns, and when Liverpool came a-knocking, Wycombe had little other choice but to see the highly-sought after Englishman up for a reportedly modest fee of around £500,000 (with add-ons) and in due course there was much talk of an exciting career ahead for the pacey wide-forward. The red divide of Merseyside did themselves proud by fighting off competition of other elite clubs such as Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal among others in order to obtain Ibe’s signature.

After making a brief 45 minute cameo appearance in Liverpool’s tour of the U.S. last summer, the winger showed why Brendan Rodgers had such faith in him, giving the Toronto FC left-back a tough run out for half of the game. His playing style is similar to another Liverpool player who goes by the name of Raheem Sterling. With bucketloads of pace, a fine touch, nifty footwork and a determined attitude, Ibe ticks plenty of boxes required to be a successful winger at a club like Liverpool.

The youngster’s performances for Liverpool’s youth teams so far this season have suggested that he has the ability to live up to the hype, and the speed merchant has chipped in with his fair share of goals and assists for the U-18s and U-21 sides respectively. Goals against Swindon and Leeds this year have also helped draw more attention to the rising star, and theses finishes in particular showcase his prowess around the box, something which is at times lacking from his employer’s first team.

Not afraid to take on a defender or two, Ibe certainly isn’t short on confidence, and judging by those much-maligned ‘3 minute YouTube clips’ rightly so. If you’re not blessed with a big and bulky frame, some would imply that the Premier League is not for you, as it is regarded as the most physical top division in world football. But numerous players have rubbished this theory, adapting to the league with relative ease although their size might suggest otherwise, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Philippe Coutinho and Santi Cazorla to name a few. The Anfield academy’s most promising export since Raheem Sterling could be another diminutive player to beat this stereotype, as his pace and footwork will more than make up for his slight frame.

This short video shows glimpses of the class Ibe posesses. Well worth a watch, some classy goals in there.

Quite recently, Ibe was talking to the Liverpool Echo, and he revealed some particularly interesting information regarding his aspirations as a football, claiming that he has been avidly studying Portuguese world-beater Cristiano Ronaldo.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “Going forward, Alex Inglethorpe has helped me by showing me clips of Cristiano Ronaldo.

“20 of Ronaldo’s goals last season were one touch finishes at the back post. He’s been helping me to get within the frame of the goal and in the six-yard box.

“I haven’t scored a lot of goals this season, I have plenty of assists, but with what Alex is showing me I hope I can score a few more goals towards the end of the season.”

Only time will tell what’s in store for Ibe, and it will be very interesting to see where the winger is in 4 or 5 years time.

Joe Cole Slams Liverpool in Controversial Interview with The Sun

Joe Cole West Ham

Before you even begin to read Joe Cole’s revealing interview with The Sun regarding his thoughts about his unproductive 2-year stint at Liverpool, you should already know that by merely agreeing to taking part in an interview with The Sun, he is already aggravating and almost even disrespecting his former employers and their fans, who pride themselves on their disassociation with the English tabloid paper.

The return of Joe Cole to his boyhood club West Ham has seen somewhat of an upturn in his form as of late, notching up 2 assists and 2 goals for his Premier League club of old.

After leaving Liverpool on a free during the January transfer window, Cole was keen to get started on fresh pastures and with a side he knew he would have a better chance of claiming a starting spot with, something which was rather tough for the inconsistent attacking-midfielder to nail down during his time at Merseyside.

The 31-Year old admitted in an exclusive interview with The Sun that he now regrets joining the English giants, claiming his choice when joining a new club was between two Premier League sides – the high-flying Spurs or under-achievers Liverpool. He opted for the latter, as he felt that he’d be accused of betrayal and disloyalty to Chelsea and West Ham if he were to make the short trip across London.

The ex-England star has now announced that he never really adapted to life at Anfield, struggling to ever nail down a place in the squad on a consistent basis as injuries and poor form prevented him from reaching the fullest of his undoubted potential.

But the Hammers old boy has now broken his silence over his time at Anfield, speaking exclusively to The Sun.

“I can only play for teams that I’m passionate about and I think that’s what went wrong for me at Liverpool.

“I didn’t feel a connection with the club or the place that I had at Chelsea and West Ham.”

This is rather rich coming from Cole, who boldly stated he had signed for the biggest club in England at the time. Although Cole has now gone back on that bold statement, claiming he had been tricked into ‘playing along’ with the interviewer upon his arrival on Merseyside.

“When I joined, the guy interviewing me said ‘you’ve joined the biggest club in the country’ and reeled off the trophies they’d won.”

“I just said ‘yeah, if you put it like that, I suppose you’re right’ and Liverpool used that as the headline to the interview.”

“I didn’t want to upset anyone so I just went along with it. But obviously they’re not the biggest club in the country any more”

While what some of what Cole says may be true, it most certainly won’t sit well with the red contingent of Merseyside as they felt aggrieved by the fact that the under-performing Englishman managed to fleece them of £100,00 a week for a largely-unfruitful 2 year spell at the club.

When quizzed regarding his decision to join Roy Hodgson’s newly-acquainted Liverpool side, he also said that his gut told him to join Harry Redknapp’s then Spurs side, but the London born utility player could not go through with that move as he felt he would be doing himself and his two previous employers an injustice.

“Spurs was probably the best option because they were offering me a five-year deal and it meant I could stay in familiar surroundings.”

“But I just couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t see myself pulling that Spurs shirt over my head.

“With the rivalry between Spurs and West Ham and Chelsea, it felt a bit mercenary.”

I think it’s safe to say that Liverpool supporters will show Cole no mercy if he arrives at Anfield later this year to take on his old side. The flop earned a mind-boggling £100,000 figure weekly with the reds, and he will be subject to a relatively hostile environment if he kits in front of the Kop in the coming weeks.

Luis Suárez vs Robin Van Persie: Two Artists At Work

Both rank among the world’s best

Debate after debate, valid point after another valid point, no one can manage to come to a clear indication as to who really is the best striker in the Premier League. This particularly bare shortlist can make the task at hand considerably easier in many aspects, as there is not much to look beyond bar Manchester United’s Flying Dutchman and Liverpool’s mercurial Uruguayan talisman. Both players have been in prolific form for all of the current campaign, and have been key to their sides’ respective successes, providing the killer instinct or the sucker punch needed to kill off opposition almost week-in and week-out for their employers.

In the form of his life

RVP has had a more-than stellar season so far for United, racking up 23 goals in all competitions, with 19 of these all-important goals aiding United’s inevitable 20th Premier League title quest. This is a trophy the former Emirates star is yet to add to his almost empty and dusty trophy cabinet, after spending the vast majority of his career at Arsenal who are now battling to stay in contention for a Champions League spot ahead of next season. In a Manchester side which has not always shone at times this season, Van Persie has always been there to lend a helping hand to his side, bagging a vital hat-trick against newly-promoted Southampton earlier in the season, spearheading one of many a masterclass of a comeback, something that has become the norm for the Old Trafford side this season. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side never give up hope, even when all is seemingly lost, and coming back from somewhat awkward positions during numerous games this season have become the Red Devil’s forté. A dynamite left-foot packaged with a cultured knack for set-pieces, a nicely-rounded striker to say the least. It is also a common misconception that the United powerhouse is clumsy with the ball at his feet. This could not be more wrong, and for a man of his stature, he is exceptional with the ball at his feet. £24 million for the Dutchman really does look to be a bargain now, eh?

The devastating Uruguayan is firing on all cylinders

On the other hand, Luis Suárez’ often-struggling Liverpool side have not lived up to the height of the exceedingly optimistic expectations held for them prior to the season’s kick-off, although they still have time to change their fortunes with a relatively straight-forward 11 game run in to the final day of the season. 25 goals in all competitions for ‘El Pistolero’ has seen him ranked and  compared among the most highly regarded players in the world, and it is very debatable that Suárez and Van Persie are the two of the best and most proven strikers in world football currently. Last season, the tricky Uruguayan was all-too susceptible to missing clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities, but he seems to have cleaned up his act now, and in a rather fathomable fashion. 18 league goals leaves the versatile attacker 1 goal short of Van Persie’s desirable tally, but with the 29 year-old being less of an essentiality for the league leaders, a couple more rests might be in store for the ever-prolific predator. The deceptive Uruguayan also has an innate ability to create something out of nothing, and he has shown this numerous times this season. He is also no stranger to set-pieces, free-kicks in particular. Having scored 4 equally impressive free-kicks this season, El Pistolero has cemented his place as Liverpool’s direct free-kick taker, relieving captain Steven Gerrard of his duties in that department. Suárez has rectified last season’s wrong-doings in front of goal, and has almost doubled his league tally of last year (11) with his 18 goals so far in this campaign. Hot on Van Persie’s heels, the accolade of Golden Boot is Van Persie’s for the losing, and the Uruguayan’s for the taking.

The differences between the two are as clear as daylight. Van Persie is big, menacing and a lethal weapon when given the ball at his feet anywhere inside the opposition’s box. Last season’s Golden Boot winner can hold up the ball for as long as he needs to let his side re-group and re-shape, and he has typified United’s effectiveness in front of goal for large portions of this season. Slightly more clinical, reliable and consistent than Suárez when in front of goal, the former Feyenoord starlet manages to keep a cool head more often than not, something which is undervalued in football nowadays.

But Suarez brings more versatility and unpredictability to the table, something which causes chaos and uncertainty among opposition defenses. Twisting and turning, ducking, dipping and diving, Suárez is one of the Premier League’s top dribblers, and also a seasoned veteran in the art of nut-megging. He doesn’t just go around players, he goes through them, sometimes with relative ease, already having racked up an astonishing 36 nut-megs so far this season. The most in the world. Some say he could even nut-meg a mermaid, although that is yet to be seen. The Uruguayan has also excelled more so than his opponent in this article, winning the 2011 Copa America with his national side, brushing aside other highly-regarded South American sides in the process, winning the tournament’s most valuable player award was also a testament to his effectiveness for his side.

The two hit-men are indispensable to their clubs. 37 goals shared between them, they are undoubtedly the two best strikers in the Premier League. Unfortunately, the fear is that these two world-beaters might not be around too much longer, with Van Persie going on the wrong side of 30. Speculation is also rife regarding the Uruguayan’s future at Merseyside, with Bayern Munich rumoured to be keen admirers of the talisman. But Suárez has repeatedly come out downplaying a move being on the cards any time soon, after all, he did just sign a 5-year contract at Anfield last summer. But only time will tell what the future holds for the Premier League’s most prized possessions.

Here is a video detailing the exploits of the United and Liverpool men respectively thus far this season. There are some real belters in there from both players.

Now it is time for you to have your say. Who do you think is the best out of these two?