The latest Liverpool news from Newsnow Liverpool as the Reds face a particular set of skills on this today against West Ham.
Liverpool seem to have finally addressed their midfield issues this summer. With £150 million spent on four new signings, Liverpool’s midfield appears rejuvenated, securing four wins in five Premier League games at the start of the season. Despite not signing a new center-back, the Reds’ summer transfer window has been impressive.
While Liverpool fans dreamed of Jude Bellingham, the decision to sign Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch, and Wataru Endo could benefit Klopp’s midfield in the long run.
However, there’s one deal Liverpool might have missed out on this summer.
James Ward-Prowse may not be the exciting, young midfielder fans were hoping for, but he’s certainly effective.
It’s hard not to imagine him as a valuable asset in this squad. Moving from Southampton to West Ham for around £30 million, the England international has had an immediate impact on a side missing Declan Rice. Ward-Prowse has already scored twice and provided five assists, becoming central to David Moyes’ team with a goal contribution in every game.
Given his performance, it’s surprising that top Premier League clubs didn’t pursue him.
Perhaps the transfer fee was a deterrent, but in today’s market, £30 million isn’t exorbitant. Some might argue it’s his age, but Liverpool signed Wataru Endo, who is two years older, for £16 million.
Clubs like Liverpool usually prefer younger players with potential resale value, but short-term signings should always be considered if they enhance immediate success.
Liverpool have done this before.
Xherdan Shaqiri joined Liverpool at 26 from relegated Stoke in 2018, and three years later, he left as a Champions League and Premier League winner after 63 appearances and eight goals.
Ward-Prowse is undoubtedly a threat at Anfield with his free-kick and corner-taking abilities. He’s the second-highest scorer from direct free-kicks in Premier League history, trailing only David Beckham, with a 14.3% success rate for free-kick goals in Europe’s top five leagues since 2013.
Liverpool could have utilized this skill this season.
However, labeling Ward-Prowse as solely a set-piece specialist is an oversimplification. He was crucial to Southampton during Ralph Hasenhuttl’s tenure, leading the press and initiating attacks. He was also a proficient passer, excelling in tight areas.
He could operate in various positions and even captain the team – a valuable asset for Liverpool after losing experienced players this summer.
Signing Ward-Prowse would have also fulfilled a homegrown slot in Liverpool’s squad.
The downside might have been fewer opportunities for players like Harvey Elliott. Still, this challenge could have benefited both Elliott’s development and Liverpool’s short-term success.
Klopp is aware of Ward-Prowse’s qualities, praising him as one of West Ham’s best signings this summer. He said, “James Ward-Prowse is a super signing.”
Unfortunately, Ward-Prowse will line up against Liverpool, not for them, when West Ham visits Anfield. While not the biggest missed opportunity of the summer, Liverpool might feel a hint of regret if he stands over a free-kick with Alisson Becker’s goal in sight on Sunday afternoon.