Liverpool like the look of both James Ward-Prowse and Jarrod Bowen, according to reports. Which player makes the most sense for the Reds, though?
Both are talented English players playing at a high level in the Premier League. But if Liverpool were to sign one, who should it be?
What Liverpool need
We’ll find out exactly what Liverpool need between now and the January transfer window. It’s either going to be a midfielder or a forward, however.
Liverpool lost both Gini Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri, after all. They both happen to occupy the same positions as Ward-Prowse and Bowen respectively, too.
Who, then, will Liverpool miss more? Will it be the all-around midfield presence or the creative player who can drift in from wide positions?
Right now, that’s not entirely clear. Liverpool have plenty of midfielders, for instance, but we’re not sure they have someone like Ward-Prowse – other than Jordan Henderson. The Reds built their success on having two well-rounded, consistent midfielders, though.
Thiago isn’t quite the same and that might mean Liverpool can’t fall back on their old playing style. We’ll soon learn if that’s a problem.
As for Bowen, it’s clear that he’d replace Shaqiri’s role as an impact squad player. We thought Harvey Elliott was the replacement there but the teenager is playing in midfield.
That opens the door for Bowen to operate in that role. Essentially, he’d be a complete alternative to Mohamed Salah on the right flank.
Who’s the better player, though?
Ward-Prowse is the easy answer to that. He plays a huge role for Southampton as their captain and go-to. He’s capable of commanding a Premier League side and Bowen hasn’t quite shown that yet.
But ‘better’ isn’t clear-cut. Bowen might actually be the more talented player – he’s just two years younger. We’d expect him to be at Ward-Prowse’s level down the line.
And that’s why we’d pick Bowen if we were choosing purely on the individual. Liverpool could quickly develop him into a top player, while he offers slightly more long-term value.
As we say, though, Liverpool should choose between Ward-Prowse and Bowen based on what they need come January. We’d be shocked if they didn’t need either, such are the gaps in the squad, so things should become clear.
Perhaps it depends on Elliott and Kaide Gordon. Those two could still fill the Shaqiri void, lessening any need for Bowen. In midfield, though, we just don’t see Liverpool finding someone like Ward-Prowse over the next few months.
Our prediction is that the Southampton captain looks like an even better signing by January.