To address that hypothetical, this article grades Ibarbo's performance against the Ivory Coast at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and provides a scouting report on his season for Cagliari.
Grading Ibarbo vs. Ivory Coast: F
Ibarbo was non-existent in Colombia's 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast.
Situated on the left wing, he did not take advantage of Ivory Coast right-back Serge Aurier playing himself as a right-forward.
Ibarbo was dispossessed twice in possession and failed to create a shot or to shoot on goal.
Missing in action is how you would describe Ibarbo. He attempted and completed less passes than Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.
Ibarbo was replaced by Juan Quintero, who scored what turned out to be the winning goal.
Ibarbo Cagliari Positives
The combination of high quality athleticism and sleek technical ability is why Ibarbo has been on the radar of major European clubs.
"Napoli? It is an honour to know I am thought of by such a prestigious club," Ibarbo said, per Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia). "If a team that is so important is following me, and if a great coach like Rafa Benitez is thinking of me, then I can only be happy."
Massimo Cellino (president Calgliari): "Victor Ibarbo is a phenomenon. He will play at Barcelona next season." [unione sarda]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) January 21, 2014
Someone needs to do Ibarbo a favor and take him from Cagliari. Pronto.— Janusz Michallik (@JanuszESPN) March 23, 2014
What Ibarbo offers is searing pace, like embarking on a lengthy run against Genoa.
Impressive when Ibarbo flaps down his ears like a greyhound and turns on the afterburners— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) September 15, 2012
Ibarbo is RIDICULOUSLY quick. Sets up goal for Ekdal. Cagliari 4, Roma 2. (Feel bad for Luis Enrique)— Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) February 1, 2012
Ibarbo's change of pace causes Juventus centre-back Martin Caceres to trip over himself.
Sassuolo centre-back Luca Antei concedes a penalty due to Ibarbo's quick-feet.
Pace aside, Ibarbo has flashed moments of class.
With the ball dropping high from the sky, Ibarbo impeccably volleys it past Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin.
Ibarbo Cagliari Negatives
|League Only||Games||Goals||Shots||Shots Per Goal|
In three successive Serie A seasons, Ibarbo has failed to score 10 league goals or more.
His shots per goal output in the 2011-12 and 2013-14 season were inefficient.
While he improved in 2012-13, his dip in attacking productivity the next season is a red flag.
Liverpool management face an uphill task if they take a chance on Ibarbo, who failed to convert 86.2 percent of scoring opportunities, per Squawka.com.
Lallana scored and created a combined 15 league goals, nine more than Ibarbo.
Ibarbo is a rough diamond with a tremendous upside, and he would be a cheap buy.
He lacks the consistency Lallana would bring, as evidenced with Ibarbo's lacklustre performance against Ivory Coast.
Yes, Ibarbo is exciting to watch and can take the ball from his own defensive half and do a George Weah.
But Ibarbo's finishing is as poor as compatriot Teofilo Gutierrez.
Teofilo Gutierrez is a ridiculously talented player but maybe the most notorious misser of big chances I've ever seen.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) June 19, 2014
If Ibarbo does not improve his efficiency in front of goal, he will never fulfill his extraordinary talent.
Statistics via WhoScored.com