Following the recent clash between Luton Town and Liverpool at Kenilworth Road, Andros Townsend found himself not only facing Liverpool’s attacking prowess but also appreciating the unexpected defensive prowess of Alexis Mac Allister.
The Argentine midfielder was signed from Brighton & Hove Albion for £35 million. Since then he has seamlessly transitioned into Liverpool’s No.6 role following Fabinho’s exit.
Andros Townsend, spoke on BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club, expressing admiration for Mac Allister’s “immense quality.” He highlighted the challenge of facing Liverpool’s midfield,
“When the ball’s at the feet of a (Joe) Gomez, (Virgil) Van Dijk or (Ibrahima) Konate, you’ve got three midfielders who all have the quality to get on the ball, get turned, play forward.
“You talk about Mac Allister as the No.6 now – he’s got quality. It’s so tough, you can’t really allow anyone to have the ball.”
Townsend’s praise is backed by recent Sky Sports News statistics, comparing Mac Allister’s No.6 performance to Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice. Mac Allister’s average of 2.8 tackles per 90 exceeds Rice (2.3) and Caicedo (1.9). Moreover, his interception rate of 1.5 per 90 surpasses Caicedo’s 0.9.
Notably, Mac Allister showcased his versatility in Liverpool’s 3-0 victory against Nottingham Forest, contributing significantly to the first goal.
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, lauded Mac Allister’s offensive mindset in a deeper role.
Further, he emphasized his adeptness in creating and defending, praising his contributions in one-on-one situations. After the game when asked about his deployment of Mac Allister in a deeper role, Klopp said,
“It’s obviously really not a discussion we have, otherwise we wouldn’t play him there. But I think today everybody could see the benefit of a player who comes rather from the offensive side of the game than from the other side.
“In the Liverpool No 6 role, the emphasis lies on control and dictating possession tempo, a role well-suited for Mac Allister. Endo is yet to demonstrate this consistently throughout a full game.
“In a game where you have to create things, where you have to pass, where you have to switch sides. That’s how it is then. Not all the balls reach the target, but if you try something in tight spaces, that’s completely normal.
“I have no problem at all with losing balls around the box because that’s where we should be then for counter-press. I’m really pleased for him.
“And a lot of top defensive moments. Really built the counter, stuff like this. Was really there. He’s good at these things, that’s why we play him there. In one-vs-one situations, really good.”
Despite missing Liverpool’s recent victory over Brentford due to suspension, Mac Allister will to return for a crucial encounter against Manchester City next weekend.
This will add further anticipation to his dynamic role in Liverpool’s midfield.
The unexpected brilliance of Alexis Mac Allister in Liverpool’s midfield not only earned admiration from opponents like Andros Townsend but is also statistically validated, showcasing his effectiveness in both defensive and offensive aspects of the game.