Liverpool will not change Alexis Mac Allister plan but summer hint shows there is another option


It’s not just Liverpool who have been utilising Alexis Mac Allister as a holding midfielder recently. He has been tasked with playing a deeper role for Argentina too.

Flanked by Enzo Fernandez and Rodrigo De Paul, media in his homeland were suitably impressed by his performance in Argentina’s 1-0 World Cup qualifier win over Paraguay on Thursday night.

"I played more or less as I do at the club, it is a new position but I feel very comfortable," he told reporters after the victory. "(Lionel) Scaloni asks me to manage the balance of the team, to take care of the relays and to take care of myself when I leave."

The 24-year-old might be comfortable, but he is still very much learning on the job with his transition to the deeper role far from a flawless process.

“I like it. I’ve said it many times, for me it’s easy to say ‘it’s not my position and I do the best I can’, but it’s not like that,” he told LFC TV after the Reds’ 2-2 draw with Brighton last weekend, in which he had been partly at fault for his former side’s opening goal.

Jurgen (Klopp) is playing me there, is giving me his support and I try to do the best I can.

“I think I improved a lot in the last couple of years, defensively, and I think it’s a job I can do well. So I feel good, I feel that my team-mates and the coaching staff are supporting me. That’s the most important thing.”

Despite his gradual transformation into a holding midfielder though, Liverpool fans, while understanding of the situation, remain far from convinced. The general consensus remains that Mac Allister is being wasted in a lone deeper role that he isn’t naturally suited to, with Reds supporters wanting to see him unleashed further forward.

Had Fabinho or Jordan Henderson not been the subject of unexpected interest from Saudi Arabia this summer, perhaps the Argentine would have been utilised predominantly as a number eight instead. Likewise, if Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic weren’t sidelined by injury, or fellow summer signing Wataru Endo didn’t need a bedding in period to adjust to English football, perhaps Mac Allister would be selected by Jurgen Klopp in his favoured role also.

Yet with ready and available alternatives sparse, the former Brighton man was the recipient of the short straw. Consequently, for now at least, he remains a square peg squeezed into a round hole.

But should the Liverpool boss revisit a pre-season experiment in a bid to free up the £35m man further forward?

It was only in the Reds’ final pre-season friendly against SV Darmstadt 98 where Klopp first turned Mac Allister as Liverpool’s number six. While he has lined up in such a role for seven of the club’s eight Premier League fixtures so far this season, he had spent most of the summer impressing in his favoured advanced role.

In Singapore, it was Curtis Jones who had been asked to line up deeper for the 4-0 victory over Leicester City and 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, prior to that, Trent Alexander-Arnold fulfilled the role against Karlsruher SC and SpVgg Greuther Furth, with teenager Conor Bradley starting at right-back after an impressive season on loan at Bolton Wanderers.

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