In a recent press conference ahead of West Ham United’s match against Everton on Saturday, Manuel Pellegrini refused to rule out the potential sale of Declan Rice, who has been linked with Liverpool, in the summer (courtesy of Liverpool Echo). He said (via Football.London), “It is just a matter of price, if it is a good deal for the club, player and he improves his career then we can do it. But I don’t know nothing there.”
Pellegrini’s recent words would be quite encouraging for the Reds’ chances of landing the player. Rice has enjoyed a fantastic break out year as he has managed to establish himself in the Hammers first-team following a string of impressive displays in a holding midfield role during this campaign.
The 20-year-old has made a total of 32 appearances for the East London outfit this term, scoring two goals while grabbing one assist in all competitions. More importantly, Rice has made an average of 3 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per match which goes to show how well he has performed for West Ham in the defensive midfield position (Stats via Whoscored).
His incredible performances on the pitch caught the attention of Gareth Southgate who gave him two international caps for England recently. If he can continue with his development, then there is no doubt that he will play an integral part for the Three Lions in the coming years.
Rice is quite intelligent and can read the game well which helps him make timely interceptions for his team. He is also a very reliable defender at the back even though Pellegrini prefers to play him in a deep-lying holding midfield role.
The acquisition of a player of Rice’s potential will undoubtedly bolster Jurgen Klopp’s defensive options at Anfield. The Reds currently have Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and James Milner battling for a holding midfield berth in Klopp’s first-team. However, the Merseyside outfit could benefit from adding Rice to their squad as he can be an ideal long-term replacement for Milner, who is heading into the twilight years of his career.
Moreover, Klopp has shown in the past that he can get the best out of his young talents as evidenced by the rapid rise of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Joe Gomez. Hence, the German’s management style will gel well with Rice’s work ethic and willingness to improve on the pitch.
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