With the signing of Alexis Mac Allister seemingly imminent, what could he bring to this Liverpool team – next season and beyond?
A WORLD Cup winner, but not just someone who happened to be in the winning squad, Alexis Mac Allister shone in Qatar and provided a key assist in the final.
The attacking midfielder is someone who will perform on the big stage and rarely cracks under pressure (see his last minute penalty against Manchester United).
He is also in keeping with Liverpool’s tradition of signing players who have played well against The Reds. Mac Allister was excellent at Anfield in the 3-3 draw, and at one point went past about four or five of Liverpool’s players, before being brought down by James Milner.
He was also integral when Brighton destroyed Liverpool 3-0, which proved to be The Reds nadir for the campaign. The Argentine ran the show and made a key interception and pass for The Seagull’s opener.
The Brighton number 10 is an excellent technical player. In essence he is an attacking, creative midfielder who can beat his man and score goals. He’s also strong on set pieces, so a great option if Trent Alexander-Arnold is not available, or if The Reds want to try something different.
He is Premier League quality and speaks English, a value which is understated (see Darwin Nunez, who Jürgen Klopp repeatedly admits has struggled due to the language barrier).
Liverpool are crying out for threats from midfield, especially with Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of the picture. Think back to Forest 1-0 Liverpool, Bournemouth 1-0 Liverpool, Liverpool 1-1 Villa, Liverpool 1-2 Leeds (a game in which the score was 1-1 for the majority of the match, with Liverpool unable to break the deadlock) and the difference Mac Allister could have made in those situations.
Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones have been excellent at creating, but what happens, like against Villa, when they have an off day? And we also don’t know if Trent will still be playing in his new role next season (even if he is, we still need a player like Mac Allister), and Jones is known to be very unfortunate with injuries.
Being able to rotate between Mac Allister, Jones, Alexander-Arnold, Harvey Elliott/Fabio Carvalho (if he isn’t loaned out or sold) and one other midfielder (be it Mount, Bellingham, Gravenberch, Nunes, Gallagher, Barella, Eze, Veiga, Christian Poulsen, me, etc) gives The Reds a plethora of creative midfielders to choose from, and that luxury could make a huge difference (especially, if they sign me).
Another key factor is availability; Mac Allister hardly ever misses games, and god, will that be refreshing on the back of saying farewell to two of the most injury-prone players we have ever come across. And if Thiago stays, and continues his trend of missing games, his lack of availability won’t be as much of an issue should Mac Allister maintain his track record of frequent availability. He’s only missed three games in the last two seasons, which is incredible.
I’m not sure how much Liverpool miss Gini Wijnaldum in terms of his playing style and what he offered; he could have helped the team in some ways this season but, more than anything, Liverpool miss having a player who could play 90 minutes most weeks of the season.
Mac Allister got off to a slow start in the Premier League, which is why there is such frustration around lazy comments like: “Why don’t we find players like Brighton, players like Mac Allister and Caicedo, before they shoot up in value? Sack the scouts and get Brighton’s!”
I have a feeling those same fans would be begging the club to sell the player.
Transfers are a food chain; smart clubs like Brighton buy raw players and give them time to develop, while ‘compromising’ their performance in the league and tournaments in the meantime, until the players hit their stride, then the richer clubs swoop in and pay big money.
Mac Allister got off to a slow start in England, but in 2021-22, managed to hit 10 goals and assists from midfield, and this season, has gone up to 15 involvements, including an impressive 10 goals, having proved a pivotal figure in Brighton’s most successful ever campaign, with The Seagulls qualifying for Europe for the first time in their history.
Statistically, Mac Allister is alongside Caicedo when it comes to pressing stats, which is impressive given he is also in the 79th percentile for xG in the league; better than any of Liverpool’s current midfielders.
The Argentine is also in the 78th percentile for key passes, which is also better than any of The Reds’ midfield numbers, bar Alexander-Arnold (if you count him as a midfielder). Mac Allister’s numbers aren’t mind-blowing, but are very good, and under Klopp, these numbers may well become elite.
And it’s important to note that these statistics are compared to all players in the league, not just players in Mac Allister’s specific position.
I especially like this goal; it shows he can press and it’s a goal from a Klopp midfielder if I’ve ever seen one; reminiscent of Naby Keita’s against Huddersfield in 2019, as this one was also only a few seconds in.
Mac Allister is the perfect age and will only improve under Klopp’s guidance. He could elevate Liverpool back to where we want The Reds to be.
A more defensive enforcer would be great in addition to the World Cup winner, but if as rumoured, the Alexis Mac Allister announcement is imminent, it will be a fantastic start to the transfer window for Liverpool.