Liverpool duo Origi and Ibe shortlisted for 2015 Golden Boy award

Liverpool youngsters Jordon Ibe and Divock Origi have been named on the 40-man shortlist for the 2015 edition of the prestigious Golden Boy award.

Nominated by sports journalists, the award is given to a European footballer under the age of 21 who has most impressed over the calendar year.

It is used a way to judge the best U21 player in the continent and was last won by Raheem Sterling whilst he was still on Merseyside, prior to his £49 million switch to current league leaders Manchester City a few months later.

Ibe has had a stellar year since breaking into the Liverpool first-team under Brendan Rodgers. Called back to Anfield after an excellent period on loan at Derby County in the Championship, the teenager was named Man of the Match as he shone in a 0-0 Merseyside Derby draw in January and continued to thrive in an unusual wing-back role.

Ibe was one of the Reds' best performers under Rodgers, shining in pre-season before the Northern Irishman's tenure faltered and led to his sacking last month. But since the arrival of the charismatic Jürgen Klopp, the 19-year-old has been back to his bright best and scored his first competitive goal for the club in Thursday's 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.

Striker Origi, who was also a nominee last year whilst on the books of Liverpool but on loan at Lille, and has been shortlisted a second year running despite struggling since joining up with his parent club.

The £10 million Belgian, who exploded onto the scene with an impressive World Cup campaign with his country, has yet to live up to his price tag in the early days of his Liverpool career - scoring no goals in his eight games so far, though much is still expected of the 20-year-old.

Reds duo join 40-man list of highly-rated whizzkids 

Ibe joins three other Englishmen on the shortlist, with Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli, Chelsea's Ruben Loftus Cheek and injured Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw.

Another six Premier League players are included, with Anthony Martial of Manchester United and Kelechi Iheanacho from Manchester City joining Chelsea's Nathan Ake, on loan at Watford, Hector Bellerin of Arsenal and Aston Villa's Adama Traore. Elsewhere, Adnan Januzaj, Jason Denayer and Mario Pasalic, all loaned out by English top-flight clubs, are also on the list.

They line up alongside some star-studded candidates from across Europe, with Ruben Neves from Porto - a rumoured target for Liverpool - and the likes of Youri TielemansMunir El HaddadiAlen Halilovic, Kingsley Coman and Max Meyer competing for the prize. 

The award, which was first established by Italian newspaper Tuttosport, boasts a number of big-name former winners including Lionel Messi, who won it in 2005, Sergio Aguero (2007) and Mario Gotze (2011) who played for Jürgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund at the time.

In addition to Sterling, the Premier League has had Wayne Rooney (2004), Cesc Fabregas (2006), Anderson (2008) and Mario Balotelli (2010) amongst its previous winners.

The winner, which will be decided by journalists from 30 newspapers around Europe, will be announced sometime next month. 

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