With rumours rife that Jordon Ibe will be cutting his loan at Derby County short to rejoin the Liverpool squad for the second half of 2014/15, I thought I’d take a quick look at his attacking stats to see how he has been getting on.
His main strength is unquestionably his dribbling. As the below table shows, he currently leads the way in the Championship for completed dribbles per ninety minutes played (for players with a minimum of fifteen appearances), and as an aside another Liverpool loanee (Joao Teixeira) is third in the table too.
It’s not just the volume of completed dribbles that are impressive either, but also the location. Ibe has beaten an opponent in the penalty box eighteen times this season, at a rate of once every sixty-three minutes; for a vague sense of context, Daniel Sturridge managed to do this every 206 minutes in 2013/14. As Liverpool’s completed dribbles rate has dropped from 12.4 per game last season to 10.8 in 2014.15, they could possibly do with employing Ibe’s skills in this area.
His shooting has been impressive too, albeit the samples are obviously a lot smaller. He has converted five of his thirty-one shots, for a conversion rate of 16% (against a league average of around 10%). He has put 36% of his efforts at goal on target (league average: 33%), and he has converted four of his thirteen shots from the centre of the box.
This ‘danger zone’ conversion rate of 31% compares favourably to the efforts of Mario Balotelli (15%) and Loic Remy (26%) in 2013/14, and isn’t too far behind Daniel Sturridge (35%) though I must re-iterate that Ibe’s shot sample is too small to draw anything conclusive from. It does at least suggest that he can keep his cool when presented with a decent shooting opportunity though, which is a good start.
If I can be critical of a young man learning his trade, is that he hasn’t created many chances for his teammates this season, particularly considering how frequently he can take defenders out of the game with his dribbling. Ibe has only created thirteen chances in open play, at a rate of one every eighty-eight minutes played (which is the same creativity rate as Joe Allen this season), and that’s for the Championship’s second top scoring team.
That said, he’s only had two appearances where he hasn’t had a shot or created a chance (and neither of those run outs lasted longer than forty-five minutes), so it would be fair to say that he has been contributing to attacks virtually every time he has taken to the pitch.
The important thing to remember here is that Ibe has been playing at a lower level, and so it would be foolish to expect him to tear Premier League defences to pieces immediately, but equally it’s easy to see from the figures why Brendan Rodgers would want him on hand in the hope that he can add to his two assists from three Liverpool appearances to date. you can see his goals for Derby here: