Liverpool are not the only player to use Alexis McAllister as a midfielder recently. He was also tasked with playing a deeper role for Argentina. His country’s media, along with Enzo Fernández and Rodrigo De Paul, were impressed by Argentina’s 1-0 win over Paraguay in their World Cup qualifier on Thursday night.
“I played almost the same as at the club. It’s a new position, but I feel very comfortable,” he told reporters after the win. “(Lionel) Scaloni asked me to take care of the balance of the team, manage the relays and take care of his body in my absence.”
The 24-year-old may be comfortable, but he’s still learning a lot on the job and transitioning to a deeper role won’t be easy.
“That’s great. “I’ve said it a few times, it’s easy to say, ‘That’s not my position and I’m doing my best’, but that’s not the case,” he told LFC TV after the men’s last-minute victory. Brighton 2 – 2. At the weekend he was partly to blame for the team’s first goal.
“Jurgen (Klopp) plays with me, supports me and tries to do my best. “I feel like I’ve improved a lot defensively over the last few years and I think that’s something I can do well. So I feel good about myself and I feel like my teammates and the coaching staff have my back. That’s the most important thing.”
Although he has gradually developed into a midfielder, Liverpool fans understand the situation but are not convinced.
The general consensus is that McAllister is being used in a single deep role for which he is not a natural fit, and Reds supporters want to develop him further. Had Fabinho or Jordan Henderson not attracted unexpected interest from Saudi Arabia this summer, the Argentinian would have been primarily placed in the eighth spot. Likewise, if Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Baicetic are ruled out through injury or summer signing Wataru Endo needs bed rest to adapt to English football, Jurgen Klopp could choose McAllister in his preferred role.
However, due to a lack of ready-made alternatives, the former Brighton man was given short notice. So, at least for now, it remains a square peg in a round hole. But should the Liverpool manager reconsider his pre-season experiment to demand a £35m fee?
The first time Klopp donned McAllister’s Liverpool number 6 shirt was in Manchester United’s final warm-up game against SV Darmstadt 98. He has played in that role in seven of the club’s eight Premier League games so far this season, but has impressed in his preferred striker role throughout the summer.
In Singapore, Curtis Jones was called upon to play deeper in the 4-0 win against Leicester City and the 4-3 defeat against Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold previously assumed the role against Karlsruhe SC and SpVgg Greeter Furth, while teenager Conor Bradley started at right-back after an impressive loan season at Bolton Wanderers.
Had it not been for the Northern Irishman’s back injury which ruled him out for several months, who knows if he would have done enough to retain his position at right-back at the start of the season and free up Alexander. -Arnold stays. In midfield. But after two encouraging performances in Germany, perhaps, even if Klopp continues to insist he wants the newly-appointed vice-captain to return to a defensive role.
“After we put him in a flexible role (at the end of last season), everyone said he had to play fully in midfield, but they didn’t say why,” Klopp told reporters at the end of July.
“It’s a completely different position to the one I played last season or in England. It’s a waiting position. I have to organize a lot.” “Trent can play that position. It just depends on who’s going to be on his right and left.” I thought this season was very good and important. “We still want to try again with Trent and we’ll see how the season goes.”
Of course, Alexander-Arnold played in Liverpool’s reverse hybrid role, but adjustments to the system allowed him to switch to both central midfielder and centre-back, as well as a natural wide station. He is still regarded as a promising midfielder for England, having scored and assisted eight times against Malta and North Macedonia during the June international break. When Gareth Southgate’s final squad for the international competition was announced in October, the 25-year-old was included in midfield rather than full-back.
Alexander-Arnold started at right-back in the last friendly between England and Australia. But after the midfielder’s international cap four months ago, Southgate said of the Liverpool man: “He showed us what we thought he could do and gave us something different to other midfielders.”
There is evidence for this in the short term. After all, Joe Gomez has had a great start to the season at right back. It could be argued that, on paper at least, England would look more comfortable starting with Alexander-Arnold at number six and McAllister at number eight.
However, Klopp rewrote Liverpool’s formation to field more centre-backs. Therefore, it seems that further promotion will be difficult, unless it is an unavoidable situation due to injury.
If Klopp wanted to use Alexander-Arnold as a permanent midfielder, he would have kept him in that role at the start of the season.
Despite continued anger at the 25-year-old playing in midfield, his subsequent move under Southgate and his far greater suitability for the role than McAllister, Klopp’s pre-season comments suggest his ongoing plans for the player.
Regardless of his England squad list, Alexander-Arnold remains a full-back at Anfield. Obviously, his need for this role is greater than the further development of Mac Allister.
Like it or not, agree or disagree, Klopp decided to replace Fabinho on an interim basis. The German, who has nearly 23 years of managerial experience and watches the players closely in training every day, saw potential in his work experience. And unless Endo, Vaycetic or Thiago earn that spot in the coming weeks and months, McAllister will remain Liverpool’s central midfielder for better or for worse.