Jurgen Klopp confirms extent of Alexis Mac Allister’s injury against Bayern Munich

Alexis Mac Allister injured his knee in a friendly match with Bayern Munich.

Jurgen Klopp has since discussed the seriousness of the problem,
Liverpool lost the game despite two leads.

The manager has downplayed fears there is cause for concern after summer signing Alexis Mac Allister was unexpectedly withdrawn in the 4-3 pre-season loss on Wednesday in Singapore against Bayern Munich.

Mac Allister failed to return in the second half after suffering a knock to the knee before the break. Joel Matip and Diogo Jota were the only other Liverpool players to make half-time substitutions, with Klopp not opting for the massive changes that are more common at the start of pre-season.

The Reds initially invested £35m, which could rise to £55m, to sign 2022 world cup winner from Brighton in June, leaving his sudden absence worrying fans less than two weeks before the opening Premier League game at Chelsea.

But Klopp appeared indifferent as he spoke after the game, even hinting that it would have been possible for Mac Allister to continue playing if the stakes had been higher.

“Knee on knee,” the coach said in a post-match press conference.

“He could have continued to play. First I got the information that it was too painful, then it was clear that we were going to change. There is no reason to pass it.

“When I spoke afterwards, he said, ‘No, no, nothing would have happened to me.’ “But we didn’t want to take any risks. It’s just knee to knee, bruises, that’s all. It was fine.”

Liverpool initially led 2–0 thanks to first-half goals from Cody Gakpo and new full-time captain Virgil van Dijk. Bayern had managed to narrow the score to 2–2 at half-time, only for Luis Diaz to restore the lead with a quarter of the match remaining. But further goals from Bayern’s Josip Stanisic and Fran Kratzig turned the tables for the German champions in the closing stages.

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Liverpool crisis may not be far away and two transfers are needed to avert it

Jurgen Klopp confirms extent of Alexis Mac Allister's injury against Bayern Munich

Liverpool have signed Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai as part of a midfield overhaul this summer but more need to be done.

Liverpool’s midfield has regularly been cursed by injury during Jurgen Klopp’s reign.

Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic, and Arthur Melo – they’ve all suffered prolonged enforced absences during their time in Red over the past eight years. Even James Milner was prone to the odd injury absence during his latter years at Anfield, with Gini Wijnaldum seemingly the only engine-room general to actually be immune to such woes.

Evidently, with Liverpool having had their fair share of accompanying grimaces and groans over the years, Kopites have been left scarred by their seemingly constant injury list. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.

Consequently, they would have been left fearing the worst after being greeted by the sight of summer signing Alexis Mac Allister slowly hobbling off at half-time in their 4-3 friendly defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday after going to ground following a heavy blow to the knee. Just as they would have been equally anxious after fellow new recruit Dominik Szoboszlai missed their second pre-season clash against Furth last month after rolling his ankle in training.

Fortunately, the Hungarian was back to face Leicester City as a substitute on Sunday, before completing 76 minutes against Bayern. And despite the concerning sight of an injured Mac Allister against the Bundesliga giants, Klopp was quick to allay any injury fears with little over a week to go until Liverpool’s Premier League opener away at Chelsea.

“It was knee on knee,” the German confirmed after the final whistle. “He could have played on.

“The first information I had was that it was painful, and so it was clear we would change. There was no need to push him through.

“When I spoke afterwards he said everything was fine. But we didn’t want any risk. It was just knee on knee. A bruise. It was fine.”

Such news will be a relief to supporters. With so many of their previously-plagued midfielders no longer on the books, the arrival of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai as part of a long-awaited midfield overhaul was seen as a fresh start. The Argentine made 76 appearances for Brighton over the last two seasons, while the Hungarian boasted 91 outings for RB Leipzig over the same period as a sign of the pair’s durability.

It would have been sod’s law if Liverpool were to start the new season without the services of either player, considering their historical bad injury luck. But even the prospect of the pair being injured this pre-season has hammered home an already abundantly clear point – the Reds’ midfield overhaul can’t end here.

Liverpool called upon the services of 11 different senior midfielders last season, with such a total rising to 15 if we wish to include Trent Alexander-Arnold, Cody Gakpo, Roberto Firmino, and youngster Bobby Clark. In normal circumstances, even that initial figure is excessive, but such have been the Reds’ ongoing injury woes, they have needed that additional depth.

This summer, they have waved off Milner, Keita, and Oxlade-Chamberlain at the end of their contracts and sent loanee Arthur Melo back to Juventus. Meanwhile, Fabio Carvalho has joined RB Leipzig on loan, while both Henderson and Fabinho have departed for Saudi Arabia.

Consequently, Klopp is now down to just six natural senior midfielders, though Alexander-Arnold and Gakpo can both bolster such numbers, while the likes of Clark and Tyler Morton also offer more support in reserve. Clearly though, it is not enough – and that’s even without considering Thiago’s own wretched injury past.

Of course, club bosses are trying to address this lack of depth. Liverpool have made two bids for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia, with the second worth up to £41m in comparison to the Saints’ £50m asking price, and hold genuine interest in Fluminense’s Andre. But while the transfer window closes on September 1, giving the Reds a month to address such shortcomings, they only have 11 days until their Premier League season gets underway.

With Thiago and Bajcetic not yet back in team training after season-ending injuries last time out, Liverpool are already down to the bare bones. And the brief prospect of a pre-season injury suffered by Szoboszlai and Mac Allister should be setting alarm bells ringing.

Already playing catch-up on their rivals after a dismal campaign last year, this was not a position the club wanted to be come the start of August.

Klopp already faced a daunting enough prospect this summer, having to unleash a new-look midfield that had barely played together. Such a scenario was difficult enough, never mind the fact that the Reds are also continuing to adjust to their new 3-2-2-3 formation at the same time.

But throw in the fact that Liverpool are currently without a natural holding midfielder, having been caught off guard by the departures of senior lieutenants, so have had to play first Alexander-Arnold and now Jones out of position, and it’s a thankless task for Klopp and his staff to find a solution.

Not only do the Reds need to sign a new number six, and fast, but they need to bolster their depth further too. If that wasn’t clear already, the brief panic accompanying the sight of the injured Mac Allister going to ground before hobbling off should reiterate how precarious a position Liverpool currently risk finding themselves in. They are just one injury away from their new-look engine-room already being drawn into a crisis.

The 2023/24 Premier League season is fast approaching and Liverpool will be hoping to be back competing for top spot.

Ahead of the action commencing, the ECHO have put together an ultimate 48-page guide to take a deeper dive into Liverpool’s new signings and how they are likely to be utilised by Klopp. A closer look will also be taken at the players expected to make their mark for the Reds in 2023/24, in addition to a club-by-club guide to the other 19 Premier League teams.

Having seen last year’s woes initiated by player after player being struck down in pre-season and the opening weeks of the campaign, they can’t risk repeating such an experience now. The grip of such an unwanted cycle was one they never freed themselves from, after all, as players were over-played when fit and rushed back when not.

Admittedly, they don’t need a further five new midfielders to compensate for all seven of these close season engine room exits. After all, Carvalho would feature for just 452 minutes in the Premier League and Champions League last year, with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita registering 351 minutes and 290 minutes respectively.

Arthur, meanwhile, never managed to add to his 13-minute debut appearances against Napoli last September. The quartet took bit-part to the extreme.

You’d like to think this next-generation Liverpool midfield will have more to offer on the pitch over the course of a season. But as much as they now need a new holding midfielder, one further recruit alone to accompany Mac Allister and Szoboszlai still isn’t enough with the club in need of a happy middle ground.

Previously priding themselves on getting their business done early and quickly, this late transfer game on the eve of the new season leaves the Reds in uncharted territory – a position they’ll wish to find their way out of as swiftly as possible.

Whether that results in moves for both Lavia and Andre before the transfer window closes, only time will tell. But having seen their squad previously populated with a plethora of unreliable options, Liverpool cannot assume such woes are now behind them with fresh faces and hope for the best.

Club bosses should already know this of course, as they rapidly run out of time to rectify such issues before the start of the season. But the longer such a process takes, the harder they are making life for Klopp’s currently under-staffed squad in the months ahead.



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