Alexis Mac Allister is expected to sign as Liverpool’s newest player before the end of the day.
Meanwhile, the Argentine’s imminent arrival at Anfield is no longer a secret. There has been tension among Liverpool fans for some time as they patiently await their first signing of the summer.
And now, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano, the wait is almost over.
“Alexis Mac Allister has passed medical tests as a new Liverpool player and will sign the contract today,” Romano wrote on Twitter in the early hours of this morning.
“The long-term contract will be valid until June 2028.”
For some fans, a new signing day can be even more exciting than watching their team play and win. Older generations may never understand this, but it’s become an integral part of the sport now.
Fabrizio Romano has turned creating that excitement and anticipation among fans into an art form. The Italian journalist has become the go-to for transfer updates.
In MacAllister’s case, Romano was there from the start. He was the one who first suggested Liverpool were in the running for the 24-year-old, and has kept the Reds apprised ever since.
That saga looks set to come to a close today, as Liverpool fans will hopefully get a first look at their new man in the famous red. If ever there was a day to refresh your Twitter timeline, this is it!
As for the signing itself, it seems like an almighty piece of Liverpool business. The importance of getting Mac Allister in during the first week of June cannot be understated.
In the run-up to a season where the Reds are in need of massive improvements, it’s vital that new players are given all the time they need to settle in and learn the ropes. Alexis will join his national team this weekend. But he’ll then report back on the first day of pre-season, ready to get going.
After years of starving for new midfield recruits, it will be a relief to complete the first piece of the new puzzle. Good day, Reds, we’ll take care of it.
Alexis Mac Allister has already said what Jurgen Klopp would love to hear at Liverpool
As a man who played at both centre-back and upfront during his own playing days, Jurgen Klopp loves versatile players.
His Liverpool squads have been littered with such stars ever since he took over as Reds manager in October 2015. And the German would even vocalise his preference for such stars back in 2019.
“James Milner can play around 13 positions probably. He probably would be the first choice if all the goalies were out,” he said when speaking to Pro:Direct Soccer about his own versatile players back in 2019.
“Fabinho can play at least two, Trent can play a lot, so we have that. We don’t have that many specialists. People think sometimes it’s a weakness if you’re that versatile, because you think ‘OK, I don’t have a fixed position, he puts me in there, there, there, then I’m out’.
“It is [a strength]. It helps in building a squad, especially. That helps a lot. Because you don’t have a specialist in these positions, you have three, four, five players that can play really different positions, that helps you a lot.”
A look at the Liverpool squad last season and you will see no less than 16 senior players who have played in more than one position for the Reds under Klopp. And while the likes of Roberto Firmino, James Milner, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will all depart this summer, the German is set to add another such player to his ranks.
Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister has been given permission to undergo a medical as Liverpool close in on their first signing of the summer.
Predominately a central midfielder, the World Cup winner, who was originally an attacking midfielder when he moved to the South Coast, is comfortable playing as a number 10, a number eight, and number six thanks to his time with the Seagulls. Meanwhile, he also has experience playing on either flank and as a false nine.
“I wanted to kill him but that’s part of football,” Mac Allister joked last season when asked of former manager Graham Potter’s decision to position him in a deeper role. “He was very helpful, improving my versatility and physicality. I’m a much better player today because of it so I can thank him a lot.”
Meanwhile, he is also on record saying: “I like to play as a No. 10, I like to play as a No. 6. The most important thing for me is to help my team-mates, win football games and try to be as central as I can so I can be as close to the ball to get on it as much as possible.”
Such admissions will be music to Klopp and Liverpool’s ears.
In truth, it remains unclear how the Reds will line up next season. Traditionally, Klopp has favoured a 4-3-3 formation at Anfield, but Liverpool’s own struggles last year saw him revert to an inverted full-back system, lining up in a 3-2-2-3 set-up with Trent Alexander-Arnold in central-midfield when on the ball. Meanwhile, the German has also been known to use 4-2-3-1 on occasions.
On the face of it, Mac Allister is more than capable of playing a number of roles in each set up. If the new system is here to stay, he would be comfortable in either advanced midfield role, be it replacing the in-form Curtis Jones on the left or making the right-sided role his own.
You could also argue that he could technically play the deeper role alongside Alexander-Arnold, while he would be competent in any midfield position in Klopp’s traditional 4-3-3. And if 4-2-3-1 was the way to go, you could throw a number 10 or inside-left position into the equation also.
What makes his versatility even more impressive is the number of different roles he was asked to perform for Brighton in 2022/23. Playing in a midfield three prior to the World Cup, having already acclimatised from a role further forward, new manager Roberto De Zerbi would then implement him as a double pivot in Brighton’s new 4-4-2 formation. With the Seagulls keen to play out from the back, as demonstrated by the decision to play Jason Steele in goal instead of Roberto Sanchez, Mac Allister was crucial to Brighton’s possession football.
Of course, there is much more to Mac Allister than versatility. Scratch beneath the surface and he offers a little bit of everything that Liverpool’s struggling midfield was lacking this season.
His number of shots (86), tackles (70), chances created (47), goals scored (10), and times possession won (213) were all higher than any of the Reds’ midfielders in the 2022/23 season. Meanwhile, his total of three assists would have been enough to earn him joint-top status in the Liverpool engine-room.
Scoring 12 goals in all competitions, such a total is a fine return for any midfielder. And while six came from the penalty spot, with one a direct free-kick, the remaining five goals from open play would still match the highest return from a Liverpool midfielder.
Considering he won the World Cup mid-season, his availability for Brighton has been superb too. Playing in 40 of Brighton’s 46 matches, only three of those missed games came in the Premier League with two of them due to his commitments with Argentina.
The biggest criticisms Liverpool’s midfield faced this season were they didn’t offer enough offensively, lacked legs defensively, were ageing, and were injury-prone. Mac Allister’s arrival essentially addresses all such issues, with the 24-year-old’s peak years still ahead of him.
And it was in Brighton’s 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool back in mid-January, when the Reds midfield was arguably arguably at its weakest, that Mac Allister’s superiority stood out to Klopp.
Meanwhile, such stats catch the eye beyond comparison with a flailing Reds midfield.
Martin Odegaard was the only Premier League midfielder to outscore him, while his total of 1,803 passes and 2,321 touches were the 11th and 10th-highest from midfielders in the Premier League. Only the Norwegian and Bruno Fernandes could better his return of 86 Premier League shots, while he was joint-11th in terms of most tackles (70).
And you only need watch back Brighton’s fastest ever Premier League goal, scored against Aston Villa after just 49 seconds last November when Mac Allister robbed Douglas Luiz on the edge of his own box before slotting past Emiliano Martinez, for proof of how he would fit into the Reds’ intense, high-pressing philosophy.
A true all-round midfielder, with his strengths his passing, tackling, and ball retention, he offers the energy and output at both ends that Liverpool have very much been lacking. He might not be the most exciting arrival in Anfield history, but the stage is set for him to quietly be one of the most effective.
While not the marquee arrival the Reds had originally been hoping for when targeting Jude Bellingham, if brought in alongside the right midfield recruits to compliment him, Mac Allister could be the exact player Klopp needs for his side to rediscover their lost identity.