Jürgen Klopp hails Jordon Ibe as Liverpool momentum builds
Manager praises teenage midfielder after his first goal for club seals points in Russia
Jordon Ibe scores for Liverpool during the Europa League game against Rubin Kazan at The Kazan Arena. Photograph: Henry Browne/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic
Rubin Kazan 0 Liverpool 1
Jürgen Klopp hailed Jordan Ibe’s contribution after his winning goal earned Liverpool a third successive victory and the club’s first away from home in Europe for nearly three years.
Ibe’s first goal for the club in his 30th appearance was enough to decide the encounter against Rubin Kazan, a match the visitors dominated with a calm and controlling performance which the final scoreline in no way flattered.
After three successive 1-1 draws in the Europa League, their first win in nine European pool games gives them a much healthier outlook in Group B, where they now trail leaders Sion by only a point after their 1-1 stalemate with Bordeaux.
“He is a good lad and a big talent, a very skilled player,” said Klopp of Ibe. “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.
Klopp has now recorded three wins on the bounce in different competitions – the Capital One Cup against Bournemouth and Premier League at Chelsea previously.
Klopp left Philippe Coutinho, Saturday’s two-goal hero against Chelsea, on the bench so as not to risk a niggle while Adam Lallana was also protected and came on later in the second half. Joe Allen was Liverpool’s only survivor of their last win on foreign soil – against Udinese in December 2012 – to start this game in Russia.
The 45,000-capacity Rubin Arena is the most modern of stadia, built two years ago ahead of the 2018 World Cup, and it is not the easiest place to come to.
Rubin had beaten Chelsea, Tottenham and FA Cup winners Wigan on Russian soil and that was part of the reason Klopp brought a strong squad.
It meant a first start since September 20th for Christian Benteke as Liverpool controlled the first half.
James Milner rasped a shot against the crossbar from Roberto Firmino’s clever little pass and Solomon Kverkvelia produced an overhead kick clearance to deny Benteke a goalscoring opportunity inside the opening eight minutes.
But goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov was not properly tested until added time, producing a brilliant reaction save from Kverkvelia’s misdirected header from Ibe’s cross.
The breakthrough came on 52 minutes when Firmino popped off another pass to allow Ibe to advance 15 yards and clip a shot in off Ryzhikov’s far post. Milner almost made it two, cutting in from the right forcing the goalkeeper to tip over his fierce effort, while Emre Can drilled a weak clearance straight at the busy Ryzhikov. Rubin exerted some late pressure in attempt to salvage their proud record of not having lost a group stage game at home but it was all to no avail.