The ECHO have compared Alexis Mac Allister with the current Liverpool crop to assess whether he would improve Jurgen Klopp’s side
It is no secret that Liverpool are currently pursuing a deal for World Cup hero Alexis Mac Allister.
The Argentine came of age in 2022/23, going from underdog to world champion while establishing himself as a household name in the Premier League. A teary farewell to Brighton supporters after their final-day defeat to Aston Villa was the biggest indication that he will be plying his trade elsewhere next season.
While the Seagulls are renowned as a selling club, they also drive a hard bargain. Reports suggest Tony Bloom has slapped a £60million price tag on Mac Allister – a price Liverpool are likely prepared to pay to fix their midfield headache.
But what will he bring to a new-look Jurgen Klopp side?
At the back end of the campaign, the German tweaked his team slightly, accommodating Trent Alexander-Arnold to flourish in a “hybrid” role. Moving the full-back into midfield while in possession has become the latest trend across the continent but, admittedly, that is likely due to Klopp’s lack of engine-room options.
Should Mac Allister arrive, he will likely play on the left of a midfield three, his main position for Brighton and Argentina. Roberto De Zerbi occasionally allowed the 23-year-old more freedom in the number 10 role but Klopp has rarely played a similar system, instead preferring his “false number nine” – Roberto Firmino or Cody Gakpo – to occupy that space.
Thiago Alcantara and Curtis Jones are the two who played on the left of a trio for most of the campaign. As far as goalscoring is concerned, Mac Allister is head and shoulders above the duo.
The Reds have often been bereft of goals from midfield throughout Klopp’s reign. Not since Gini Wijnaldum has Liverpool had a player capable of chipping in with goals from deep and, even then, his best return in a single season was six.
However, Mac Allister would add a much-needed goal threat – adding a different dynamic to Liverpool’s line-up. His 12 strikes placed him top of Brighton’s charts this season, ahead of Evan Ferguson and Kaoru Mitoma. Although six of which were penalties.
By contrast, Curtis Jones netted just three times, with Thiago failing to score at all. Mac Allister (12.1) also registered considerably higher on the xG front, the metric to calculate the quality of goal opportunities.
Jones (1.2) and Thiago (0.4) came nowhere near the Brighton man in that department. But the Reds duo fared slightly better on the defensive front, with Mac Allister averaging just 0.81 blocks per 90 minutes.
Klopp’s heavy-metal style is renowned for its intensity, a system Jones (1.04pg) and Thiago (1.08pg) have had ingrained from the moment they arrived. Academy product Jones (1.57) also managed considerably more tackles per 90 minutes than his counterparts.
However, the academy product was the weakest link when aerial duels won (0.26pg) were measured, with Mac Allister (0.78pg) also falling short of Thiago (1.01pg). On the whole, there are similarities between the trio, especially when analysing shot-creating actions per 90 minutes.
The prospect of adding another goal threat should excite Liverpool fans. Combining his prowess in the final third with the ferocity of a typical Klopp workhorse could result in Mac Allister becoming a Premier League force.
At £70million, the Argentine appears on the expensive side but in comparison with more expensive players such as Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice, he offers value. Is he better than Jones and Thiago? The stats suggest he is. Does he boost Liverpool’s chances of competing? Absolutely. And that should be the sole comforting thought for supporters should Mac Allister be announced as a Red in the coming weeks.