Micah Richards believes that Liverpool may have missed a trick in the summer transfer window by not moving for James Ward-Prowse.
The 29-year-old left Southampton after their relegation last season, joining West Ham for £30m in August (BBC Sport). He’s enjoyed a very impressive start to life with David Moyes’ side, racking up two goals and nine assists in his first 16 games for the club (Transfermarkt).
Speaking on The Rest is Football podcast, BBC pundit Alan Shearer said of the midfielder: “He is one of the signings of the season as well, Ward-Prowse. What did they pay for him, £30m? What a bargain! What a season he’s having.
“We did a piece on Match of the Day about him and those set pieces and where he puts the ball time after time, week after week, it’s just phenomenal what a dead ball player he is.”
When Gary Lineker posed the question as to whether the Premier League’s “so-called bigger clubs” would regret not signing Ward-Prowse, Richards replied: “100%. Liverpool should have bought him. He was destined for Liverpool. Replace Henderson, he does exactly what Henderson can do and he has delivery as well. I’m thinking, why has that not happened?”
We can certainly see why Richards has suggested that Liverpool might’ve missed the boat by passing up the chance to sign Ward-Prowse, despite being linked with him earlier this year.
He’s very much proven in the Premier League, while he’d have also helped with the Reds’ homegrown quota and picked up where Jordan Henderson and James Milner left off in terms of his leadership qualities in the middle of the park.
Shearer highlighted the set-piece threat of the 29-year-old, and it’s a pertinent point as only three top-flight teams have scored more often from this avenue than LFC (four). It doesn’t seem a coincidence that West Ham have matched our tally in that regard thanks to the ex-Southampton captain (WhoScored).
Imagine how lethal Liverpool would be from dead-ball situations if Ward-Prowse were providing the ammunition for the likes of Mo Salah, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota.
Maybe the Anfield hierarchy had reservations about the Irons midfielder’s age, although that didn’t stop them from bringing in 30-year-old Wataru Endo for £16m (BBC Sport) in August.
The Englishman could certainly have been an astute pickup for the Reds during the summer, but considering how the new additions to our midfield have performed so far, Jurgen Klopp probably won’t have too many regrets over the players who didn’t come to Anfield.