Football News

Liverpool transfer news: Reds urged to sign Hazard’s rival creator

By CJ Smith

Published: 17:12, 11 May 2019 | Updated: 16:56, 14 September 2021

Ex-Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has urged the Reds to strengthen their midfield options with Leicester City star James Maddison.

Maddison only joined the Foxes last summer but has enjoyed a stellar debut season in the Premier League, sitting one ahead of Eden Hazard (97) as the division’s best chance creator so far with 98.

Maddison’s debut Premier League campaign: Five things to know…

  1. Maddison joined Leicester from Norwich for £24m in June 2018.
  2. The 22-year-old has seven goals and seven assists in the Premier League so far.
  3. He has also created 98 chances this season, more than anyone else in the division.
  4. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard sits one behind Maddison on 97.
  5. Ex-Liverpool defender Steve Nicol believes Jurgen Klopp should add Maddison to his own midfield.

And while Liverpool have been incredibly impressive in reaching the Champions League final and taking the title race with Manchester City down to the final day of the season, Nicol is one of many who believes Jurgen Klopp’s midfield could do with some added creativity if they are to run City close again next season.

“Klopp’s recent three in the middle of the park for Liverpool, over the last couple of years particularly, has been about gaining possession back, about closing the opposition back, about working really hard and then getting the ball to the front three,” Nicol told ESPN.

“I would love to see a little change in that with somebody like Maddison, who no question has already shown in the Premier League, from the middle of the park, he can open defences up, he can create chances.

“I think he will eventually score more goals than he is doing right now.

“I would love to see this. It would be a little change in the way that Klopp operated. But I think this would be a great signing.”

Rice is just another Fabinho, claims Nicol

Liverpool are one of many clubs to be linked with West Ham starlet Declan Rice in recent months.

The 20-year-old has made more tackles (94) and recoveries (283) than any other outfield player at West Ham this season, earning him a first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England team.

However, Nicol has advised the Reds to focus on signing more creative talent in their midfield, claiming Liverpool have more than enough protection for their back four in the form of Fabinho.

Nicol continued: “James Milner’s coming to the end of his top-flight career. Father Time catches up with us all.

“Declan Rice would have been ideal before they signed Fabinho. I just see Declan Rice as being the same as Fabinho.

“It’s good to have a great squad, as Man City will attest to, but I’m not sure that he’s better than Fabinho.

“I don’t think he’ll [Klopp] go and sign another player like that.

“I’d love to see a little change in signing somebody like Maddison in the middle of the park, so in monetary terms, you have to make a decision and I would rather spend the money on Maddison rather than Rice.”