'I've been studying Ronaldo'
Jordon Ibe has revealed how he has been studying clips of Cristiano Ronaldo's goals to help bolster his prospects of making a first-team breakthrough at Anfield.
The 17-year-old winger was named on the bench for Liverpool's trip to Southampton last month having impressed for both the U18s and U21s so far this season.
Ibe admits news that he'd be making the trip to St Mary's with the likes of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard came as a surprise - so much so, he thought it was a wind-up.
"It was just a normal training day and just as I was ready to go home, I had a missed call from Alex Inglethorpe the reserve manager," he explained to the Liverpool Echo.
"And he told me that I was travelling to Southampton with the first team. I didn't believe it at first, I thought it was just a little bit of banter.
"But I travelled with them and only half an hour before the match kicked-off I found out that I was on the bench.
"I was made up. My mum and dad flew down to watch as well.
"It was lovely and everything a 17-year-old boy could dream of. I was just trying to gain as much experience from it as I could and even though I didn't get on, it was just brilliant being there and warming up with them."
Ibe joined Liverpool's Academy from Wycombe Wanderers in December 2011.
He admits upping sticks from home at the age of 15 wasn't an easy decision - but it was an opportunity he simply could not turn down.
"I was my first big move and it meant moving away from my friends," explained Ibe.
"Fortunately, my family have moved up with me and whenever I get time off I usually go down and spend time with my friends.
"I had to think hard about the decision to move. I wasn't stalling but moving to Liverpool is a big move.
"I was still 15, soon to be 16, and so was caught in two minds about whether I should stay or go. The manager at Wycombe was asking if I was staying or going and I didn't know what to say."
Ibe will again be in action for Liverpool's U18s in Friday night's FA Youth Cup semi-final, first-leg clash with Chelsea at Anfield.
He's fired three goals en-route to the last four, underlining his importance to Steve Cooper's starlets, though he admits it took some adjusting to get used to the Reds' training methods after arriving at the club.
"At first, it was the training that was hardest to adapt to," he said. "At Wycombe I would usually get the ball and run with it. But here, there is not a lot of time on the ball. It is one and two touch football, passing it around. But I have got used to it and enjoyed it.
"I had to get used to all the other stuff that comes with being at a big club as well but the football was so different.
"At Wycombe it was just a case of kicking it long but we are trying to play football here."
This season has seen Ibe make the step up to the U21 set up, working under manager Alex Inglethorpe - a man he believes can help him continue to improve.
Ibe added: "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."
Sounds like he is being taught well. There have been numerous times this season we could have done with a pacey wide man attacking the far post. He will be one to watch tonight.