The 19-year-old has been locked in discussions with the Hammers over a new deal, following his excellent breakthrough season. The Republic of Ireland international’s current deal, which expires in 2020, is worth £3,000-a-week.
Rice, who became a first-team regular last season, has turned down West Ham’s initial offer which should alert a host of leading Premier League clubs. But if Rice decides to leave West Ham, should Liverpool make an attempt to sign him after an impressive 2017/18 campaign?
Rice, who can play as a centre-back or in the midfield, was a standout performer for the Hammers in the previous campaign as he recorded 31 appearances.
In fact, he was the club’s undisputed individual success story even as West Ham endured a dismal season. But it looks like the player is not particularly keen on renewing his contract and considering Liverpool’s situation at the back, they could benefit from a move.
The Reds have had their fair share of defensive problems until Virgil Van Dijk arrived from Southampton earlier in January. The Dutchman made an instant impact at Anfield, shoring up the defence and adding a much-needed swagger to the backline.
However, to challenge for the Premier League title and more, Jurgen Klopp could truly use the services of a player like Rice.
The likes of Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren severely underperformed last season, while Joel Matip was ruled out with an injury in the latter half of the campaign.
Interestingly enough, Joe Gomez alternated with Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back even though his preferred position is in the heart of the defence. If Klopp decides to move Gomez to his original position next season, the German tactician would still need to freshen up the Reds’ options at centre-back.
And to that end, West Ham’s Rice could be a fantastic option for Klopp. The 19-year-old is not only a future star but is a proven first-team player who could add immense value to a club like Liverpool.
However, West Ham must do everything they can to hold on to Rice but going by the player’s recent declination of a new deal, an exit could be on the cards.
It would be unwise for the Hammers to lose one of their hottest prospects but Liverpool should not think twice about taking advantage of the situation.