Liverpool will reportedly closely watch Declan Rice’s performances for England at the World Cup in Qatar, with the Merseyside outfit contemplating a bid for the midfielder next summer.
The West Ham skipper, 23, starred as England opened their World Cup campaign strongly on Monday with a 6-2 thumping of Iran. Over the last couple of years, he has become a household name for the Three Lions under Gareth Southgate and is expected to play a key role in Qatar.
According to Football Insider, Liverpool have identified West Ham’s Declan Rice as an alternative target to Borussia Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham, who opened the scoring for England in the 6-2 win over Iran. Jurgen Klopp is a big fan of Rice and wants to see how he performs in big games at the showpiece event, the report adds.
Liverpool were interested in Rice going into the past summer transfer window but the owners baulked at West Ham’s rumoured £100million price tag for their captain. But the England star’s valuation should fall as he will enter the final 18 months of his contract in January, although West Ham do have the option to extend it by another 12 months.
Declan Rice to Liverpool—The solution to their midfield woes?
Liverpool are planning a major midfield overhaul next summer, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Naby Keita’s contracts all expiring, while Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson not getting any younger.
Jurgen Klopp wants a young, dynamic, all-action central midfielder to help his team dictate the tempo of games, which makes West Ham’s Declan Rice a perfect fit at Anfield.
Rice has taken his game to a new level at West Ham over the last 15 to 18 months, not only shielding his side’s defence but also driving his team forward from the middle of the park. He has entered the World Cup off the back of a goal and two assists in 15 Premier League appearances for the Hammers this season.
The English star has been consistent and reliable at the middle of the park for West Ham after averaging 2.4 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 0.5 blocks, 1.2 shots and 2 key passes per game in Premier League. The 23-year-old has even been excellent when distributing the ball from midfield after completing a healthy 90.4% of his attempted passes (stats courtesy: WhoScored).
Declan Rice is a good ball-winner and can get stuck in with some tenacious tackles to make life difficult for the opposition in the midfield areas. He is a reliable passer of the ball and can create some meaningful openings for his teammates in the final third by finding the gaps in the opposition’s defence.
At 23, the England international still has room for improvement and could unlock his massive potential under the watchful eyes of Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool must continue monitoring Rice’s form over the World Cup and beyond in the Premier League before making a move in the summer. The lure of Champions League football could be too good to turn down for Rice if the Reds come calling for his services.