Liverpool registered their first win in the Europa League as they defeated Rubin Kazan 0-1 on Thursday night. After three straight draws in the competition, Jordon Ibe’s first professional goal for the Reds sealed the win for them.
Here are three things we learnt from Liverpool’s win.
1. Ibe is finally fulfilling the potential he showed last season
When Raheem Sterling was sold, many Liverpool fans weren’t as worried as they should be. They liked what they saw from Jordon Ibe and felt that the 19-year-old could become just as influential as Raheem Sterling. In terms of potential, Ibe definitely showed last season that he has a lot of talent. However, in the opening games under Brendan Rodgers, that couldn’t be seen.
Ibe could be seen putting more pressure on himself and the fact that he hadn’t scored his first goal for the club was clearly getting to him. He lost his place in Rodgers’ team, but it wasn’t the manager’s fault. Rodgers was obviously an admirer of Ibe but his poor performances meant he had to be kept on the sidelines.
Since the arrival of Klopp however, Ibe has looked revitalized and reenergized. He has since had a few good cameos under the new coach, and enjoyed a good game against Bournemouth in the League Cup. Now given a chance to start in Russia, Ibe took it with both hands and looked magnificent throughout.
His goal epitomized his ability and potential. He drove forward with the ball after receiving it from Firmino, and finished beautifully where he gave goalkeeper Ryzhikov no chance.
Only 19, Ibe has a long way to go and with the presence of Coutinho, Lallana and Firmino, it will take a lot of effort for him to become a regular. But he needs to keep taking whatever chances he gets because he has been blessed with another coach who has faith in his abilities.
2. Klopp is already proving Liverpool fans right with first away European win in three years
The fact that Liverpool hadn’t registered a single away European win in about three years was as dismal a stat as any. Klopp made sure he changed it.
The German is enjoying the best honeymoon period anyone could have envisioned. He has been in the new job for about a month and is still unbeaten, with three wins and three draws. Unlike his predecessor, he seems to be taking the Europa League seriously as he made sure he put out a strong team for the Russian challenge.
However unfair it is to Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool fans had been crying for Klopp ever since the German decided he was going to quit Borussia Dortmund. Klopp has proved every single Liverpool fan right with the way he has lead the team in the first month. He would hope he can get another win against Crystal Palace before the team disperses for the international break.
3. James Milner could soon find himself on the bench
Signing James Milner was a good move by the Liverpool management. However, he was guaranteed the midfield role which he hadn’t played since his early days at Aston Villa. He became instrumental for City in a more attacking role.
Milner seems to have regressed during the summer as he is not playing like his own self. The Englishman is undoubtedly talented and his workrate is absolutely exceptional, but something is not working for him. He once again failed to impress against Rubin Kazan and his only memorable moment from the match came when he hit the crossbar (it was an attempt where he really should have scored).
With Jordan Henderson expected to return soon, possibly right after the international break, Milner might be asked to make way for the Liverpool captain. It is something which wouldn’t surprise anyone and shouldn’t surprise Milner too, given the way he has been playing. Perhaps he can find his feet and get back to his best form in a squad role, something he performed with expertise at the Etihad.