Both have shown promises of a solid future, but have yet to truly become a regular. Flanagan has missed the entire season with a knee injury, and likely will miss a significant amount of time still to come thanks to more surgery just a month ago, but last season at just 21 years old he proved his worth on the back line.
With his deal set to expire this summer, Liverpool made sure he stuck around at least long enough to prove his worth again once healthy.
“He [Flanagan] has been a huge miss for us this season,” manager Brendan Rodgers said. “Jon is a young player and it was probably difficult for him when I first came in, he didn’t have a lot of opportunities and there weren’t many opportunities to go on loan. But he’s a wonderful example for all young players about perseverance. He kept working tirelessly in training to the point where I then felt he was ready to be put in.”
While not specified by the club, it’s likely Flanagan’s deal is for just one or two years, as his news release just said he has a “new contract” whereas Ibe’s new deal was described as a “long-term deal” in the article headline.
Ibe, still just 19, has been electric in spurts, but still has yet to show the consistency needed of a top-class winger, though it should be remembered he is still just a teenager.
He began the season on loan at Derby County, scoring five goals and helping the Rams to a flying start to the season as the club went nine unbeaten to begin the year and picking up 12 wins during Ibe’s half a season with the team. He then went back to Liverpool for the 2015 portion of the season, making a great impression in a pair of late substitute appearances against Aston Villa and West Ham. That earned him a starting spot which he made the most of down the stretch.
“Liverpool are a great club and I like the philosophy here. I’m enjoying it – I’ve just been brought into the first team and I’ve enjoyed the games I’ve played in. Hopefully I can just keep doing well at the club.
“I have been given the chance to play quite a few games and I’ve enjoyed it,” Ibe told the club’s official site. “I just want to take that into pre-season and then next season, continuing with how it’s been since I’ve been back here.”
“He is a young kid that has got a lot of potential,” Rodgers said of Ibe in the release. “He still has a lot of work to do to become that consistent performer at the top level, but there’s no doubting his potential and he has really grown and developed over the course of the last season.”
While Raheem Sterling (or, more correctly, his agent) continues to spout on about not wanting to sign a contract extension at Anfield, these two youngsters put pen to paper for Brendan Rodgers and company.