Liverpool managed to revamp their whole midfield this summer time however it didn’t essentially go as many had anticipated.
James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita departed on free transfers earlier than the Saudi Professional League raid on the Reds noticed them money in on Fabinho and Jordan Henderson. The 2019/20 Premier League champions then parted with £150m to herald Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch. Within the blink of an eye fixed, Liverpool went from having one of many oldest midfield items within the Premier League to one of many youngest.
Nevertheless, having misplaced their two senior defensive midfield choices, the idea was that two would arrive. This wasn’t to be the case although with Endo being the one specialist midfielder to be signed. The 30-year-old former VfB Stuttgart captain, who gained the midfield battle in Japan’s 4-1 victory over Germany over the weekend, was initially considered by some followers as a squad depth possibility. Nonetheless, a number of journalists claimed he was going to be a part of the first-team image and that he wasn’t signed purely to make up the numbers.
In Liverpool’s final match within the Premier League previous to the worldwide break, Endo dropped to the bench with Mac Allister anchoring the midfield. The World Cup winner was flanked by Curtis Jones to his left and Szoboszlai to his proper.
Now, on paper, it might seem to be a waste to have the previous Brighton man so deep. He thrived for the Seagulls in a extra superior function and he shone in Qatar when linking up properly with the ultimate third gamers. When he was signed, many had him earmarked for the left-sided midfield function in a 3 given he’d performed on the left for Brighton and Argentina. The expectation was that he can be the starter there with Jones filling in for him as and when. Thiago was anticipated to choose up minutes in that function too every time he was match and prepared.
However a few of his finest matches for Roberto De Zerbi’s aspect had been when he was a facilitator, pulling the strings from deeper elements of the pitch. He actually caught the attention for the Seagulls within the 3-0 win over Liverpool again in January. It was his first Premier League recreation again after profitable the World Cup. On this scenario, others may’ve regarded to make all of it about them. However Mac Allister simply stored the ball shifting, occupied area properly and ensured the hosts might progress possession.
💪 Alexis Mac Allister has made extra tackles (10) than another Liverpool participant within the Premier League this season
👏 16.7% of the whole tackles Liverpool (60) have made have been by Mac Allister pic.twitter.com/bD3IdrSZSc
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 10, 2023
That isn’t too dissimilar to the calls for positioned upon the participant on the base of the Liverpool midfield. Sure, they must be defensively switched on, which Mac Allister is, however, extra importantly, they want to have the ability to set the tempo.
Aston Villa are a harmful workforce on the break with loads of tempo in assault. It might’ve been simple to start out Endo in that recreation however the German tactician clearly wished to manage the match, so he plumped for Mac Allister because the deepest midfielder.
It paid off too. The Liverpool No. 10 was the one middle-third participant to try over 70 passes earlier than he was changed by Endo after 87 minutes. He discovered a teammate with 87.5% of those makes an attempt. Solely Moussa Diaby and Pau Torres (5) tried extra dribbles than the Argentine (3) whereas the 24-year-old ranked first for tackles tried (5). Matty Money was the one participant to win extra (4) than the Liverpool midfielder (3).
Mac Allister performed a big half in a weakened backline conserving their first clear sheet of the season. This may’ve been Klopp’s imaginative and prescient all alongside. Endo is the extra damaging participant and might play that function towards sure opponents however towards others, Mac Allister could possibly be the decide to sit down on the base of the midfield and simply dictate issues in possession whereas doing a job with out the ball. He’s greater than able to doing this and it might properly clarify why the Reds opted not to herald one other defensive midfielder alongside the Japan captain.
This concept is additional backed up by the membership’s choice to herald Gravenberch on deadline day, with Klopp stating he sees the Dutchman as a No. 8 reasonably than a No. 6. With the ex-Bayern Munich man offering depth there, it frees Mac Allister as much as be a deep-lying playmaker who moonlights as a destroyer as and when required.