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Liverpool could land dream Declan Rice alternative in Ruben Neves

Liverpool are in a period of transition in terms of their midfield personnel at Anfield and Jurgen Klopp will surely be hoping that FSG will give him an opportunity to rebuild and refresh the centre of the pitch in 2023.

The Reds are currently ninth in the Premier League after a string of inconsistent and uninspiring performances in the top flight this season and are ten points adrift from the Champions League qualifying spots inside the top four ahead of the second half of the season.

Indeed, the powers at Anfield did already dip into the transfer market this month with the acquisition of Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo early into the window but it remains to be seen whether Liverpool will further strengthen prior to their challenging pursuit of a top-four place over the coming weeks and months.

There is no doubt that the midfield is the area of concern for the Merseyside giants with a number of players either coming to the end of their contracts at the club this summer or in the latter stages of their careers.

Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner are set for an Anfield exit at the end of the current campaign, whilst Fabinho would be the only experienced midfielder left in the squad who isn’t over the age of 30 with younger players Curtis Jones, Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Elliott still finding their feet and best positions in the team at the moment.

As a result, a midfield rebuild is becoming a pressing issue for the Reds and whilst they need a youthful injection, finding a player who can offer them experience combined with longevity would also be hugely advantageous.

One player who has been linked with a move to Merseyside is Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves, a player who could not only be the perfect profile in terms of Premier League experience and energy but also a much cheaper alternative to reported target Declan Rice.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Let's start easy - how many points did Liverpool collect in their 2021/22 Premier League campaign?

Over 18 Premier League appearances this season, the Portuguese ace – who was dubbed a “joy to watch” by Shrewsbury’s Elliott Bennett – has scored four goals and successfully completed 54% of his dribbles, as well as averaging 2.1 shots on goal, 2.6 tackles, 1.4 interceptions and 2.4 clearances per game.

Not only that, but according to FBref, Rice has been one of the most similar players over the last 12 months to Neves with the two midfielders sharing many similarities in their output throughout 2022/23 so far including pass completion (82.3% v 88.6%), goal-creating actions (2 v 3), dribbles completed (46.7% v 52.4%), tackles won (22 v 19) and progressive passes (80 v 77).

With that being said, the signing of Neves would be a major coup for the Reds and with a reported £70m transfer fee that appears to be lowering all the time, it would be a steal compared to the £100m that West Ham United will demand for Rice.