Ex-Liverpool star Jurgen Klopp thought he’d buy back now without a club

Klopp opens up on Nunez’s first season at Liverpool

One of Jurgen Klopp’s former Liverpool starlets who made a hugely promising start to his Anfield spell now finds himself without a club at the age of just 27 after seeing his career nosedive since leaving the Merseyside giants back in 2016. Jordon Ibe was hailed as one of Liverpool’s brightest academy prospects during the early stages of Klopp’s tenure but never managed to fulfil his potential and is now at a crossroads as he searches for the eighth club of his professional career in advance of next season.

Ibe boasted no shortage of admirers when he joined Liverpool from Wycombe Wanderers back in 2012 before going on to make a name for himself at youth level for the Reds. He then endeared himself to Klopp shortly after the German manager’s arrival during a Europa League game against Rubin Kazan, in which he scored the only goal of the game to claim all three points for Liverpool on away soil.

Klopp was spotted running onto the pitch at full-time before giving Ibe a warm hug as he congratulated the winger on his first strike for the Reds, although he went on to offer a warning to the youngster in his post-match interview by underlining the importance of working hard and not getting carried away in his bid to lead a successful career.

“He is a good lad and a big talent, a very skilled player,” said Klopp. “He has a really good base and he feels good at this moment but he has to work on things and he has a lot to learn. If he is prepared for this then everything will be good.”

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Ibe’s goal in Russia was one of just four that he scored for Liverpool before rumours of a falling-out with Klopp began to surface in 2016 after he was left out of that year’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City despite scoring in the last eight and the semi-final. The Reds manager then addressed the speculation following his side’s victory over Bournemouth a month later, during which Ibe managed to assist Daniel Sturridge’s goal in a 2-1 win at the Vitality Stadium.

Klopp explained: “I heard from somewhere that Jordon has some problems with me or something? Only a few young players can come up and sometimes they are in the squad, sometimes not. He’s still a brilliant, big talent which is very good for English football.

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“He did well with the pass for the first goal, and the cross for the second. I was very happy. It was a beautiful pass from Jordon Ibe [for Sturridge’s goal]. We had a lot of moments and it’s absolutely exciting.”

Ibe went on to leave Liverpool that summer to become Bournemouth’s then-record signing, with the Cherries paying a fee of around £15million in exchange for his services. A buy-back clause was inserted into the deal and Klopp even publicly entertained the idea of bringing Ibe back to Anfield if he managed to excel during his time on the south coast, although he was unable to hit the heights expected of him and was released at the end of his contract in 2020 after scoring just three goals in 78 appearances.

Spells at Derby County and Adanaspor then followed before Ibe was let go by the latter club last summer and he remains a free agent to this day, with the London-born winger yet to find a team willing to take a chance on him after seeing his sky-high potential go to waste. It remains to be seen whether Ibe will be able to resurrect his career over the coming months, although the future will continue to appear increasingly bleak for him if his wait for a route back into the professional game extends into next season and beyond.

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