Liverpool: Klopp handed Rice boost

Liverpool have been handed a boost in their bid to bring Declan Rice to Anfield next year.

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Transfer Focus

That’s according to a report by Football Insider, who claim that West Ham United are now resigned to the fact that they will have to cash in on the central midfielder in 2023 – be that in January or next summer – regardless of how successful their Premier League and Europa Conference League campaigns prove to be this season.

The report goes on to state that Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea are all keeping a close eye on the situation of the 23-year-old, who is believed to have turned down the offer of a new £200k-per-week deal at the London Stadium, with his current contract set to expire in the summer of 2024 – although the Hammers hold the option of a 12-month extension.

A further report by The Telegraph suggested that, despite David Moyes previously demanding £150m for the England international, with the academy product’s deal ticking down day by day, the Irons are now facing the prospect of parting with Rice for a figure in the region of £70m.

“One of the world’s best”

Considering just how impressive Rice has been for both club and country in recent seasons, it is not difficult to understand why Liverpool – as well as a host of other Premier League giants – would be interested in a deal for the 23-year-old next year.

Indeed, the £69m-rated talent has continued his remarkable rise to stardom over his 15 Premier League fixtures in the current campaign, having already scored one goal, registered two assists and created two big chances, as well as taking an average of 1.2 shots, making 1.3 key passes and completing 0.5 dribbles per game.

The £60k-per-week enforcer has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 2.4 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 55.5 passes – at a success rate of 90% – 1.3 clearances and winning 4.2 duels – at a success rate of 61% – per game.

These returns have seen the 35-cap international average a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.27, not only ranking him as Moyes’ best performer in the league but also as the joint 16th-best player in the top flight of English football as a whole.

However, it has not only been for West Ham that Rice has starred so far this season, as the player who Thilo Kehrer dubbed “one of the world’s best midfielders” also shone during England’s 6-2 victory over Iran in their Qatar World Cup opener on Monday.

Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch, the 23-year-old was exceptional in possession, enjoying 104 touches of the ball, completing 90 of his 95 attempted passes – a success rate of 95% – and finding his man with five of his seven attempted long balls.

The Hammers academy graduate was also extremely solid in a defensive capacity, making three interceptions, one tackle and blocking one shot, with these metrics seeing the midfielder earn an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.0.

Speaking following the victory, former England and West Ham playmaker Jack Wilshere heaped a considerable amount of praise on the Irons star’s display, stating: “Rice won’t get headlines but he is absolutely vital to England. The way he breaks play up and organises the transition from defence to attack is different class.”

As such, with it being clear for all to see that Rice is very much up there as one of the best central midfielders currently playing the game, the argument that Jurgen Klopp should do all he can to land the England lynchpin next year is an easy one to make, as Rice would undoubtedly make an exceptional addition to Liverpool’s current options in the middle of the park.