Klopp backed to hijack priority Arsenal deal and give fading Liverpool star a ‘serious’ partner

Liverpool stars Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson Credit: Alamy
Liverpool stars Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson Credit: Alamy

A former Liverpool frontman reckons Jurgen Klopp can get the best out of a fading Reds star by playing him alongside a priority Arsenal target.

The biggest issue in Liverpool’s squad this season has unquestionably been the midfield. Only Thiago Alcantara of Klopp’s established midfield stars has performed to the standards Reds fans have come to expect. However, the Spaniard continues to struggle with injury and turning 32 in April, those issues are only going to get worse.

Jude Bellingham is the club’s primary midfield target, though given several exits are coming, the additions cannot stop at just one.

Indeed, the option to buy in Arthur Melo’s loan move from Juventus will not be triggered.

Elsewhere, Fabrizio Romano reported there’s currently no plans in place to offer new deals to Naby Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The pair will both become free agents in the summer.

The Sun recently detailed three Portuguese midfielders – all based in the Premier League – who have emerged on the Reds’ radar.

Chelsea’s Mason Mount is another on Liverpool’s watchlist, as is West Ham’s Declan Rice.

The 24-year-old Hammers captain is expected to depart in the summer. The Athletic previously reported West Ham are internally resigned to losing their star midfielder.

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Rice has rejected multiple contract offers that’d commit his future to the club for the long haul. With a contract expiring in 2024, the upcoming summer is West Ham’s ideal time to cash in.

Arsenal are understood to be favourites at land Rice at present. Chelsea too are in the mix, though the Gunners hold a distinct advantage. Any Rice move could cost as much as £100m if multiple sides bid.

Now, via the Liverpool Echo, the Reds have been urged to hijack Arsenal’s move for Rice in a deal that would help bring the best back out of Jordan Henderson.

That’s the view of former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse who believes captain Henderson can once again become an integral figure for Klopp if partnered with Rice.

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Rice to reignite Henderson?

“Declan Rice is a top player who could bring something to the squad,” said Cisse. “However in the midfield I do like Jordan Henderson and wouldn’t want to rule him out.

“Perhaps Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson could be a serious partnership.”

Henderson, 32, is no longer the automatic selection in midfield he once was for Klopp.

He’s been used as a substitute off the bench in four of his 11 league outings since the World Cup. Along with Fabinho, he’s arguably been among Liverpool’s worst-performing midfielders this season.

Placing a more youthful option such as Rice alongside Henderson in the three-man midfield would be one way to reignite his fading Reds career. Rice is never afraid to put in the hard yards and would help to shield a defence that has been overexposed far too often this season.

Liverpool are known to hold an interest in Rice, though their primary focus for the time being remains Bellingham.

Given owners FSG’s frugal spending in recent years, it’s a stretch to think both would be signed in the same window.

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