Jurgen Klopp has insisted that Alexis Mac Allister’s all-action display against Nottingham Forest exemplified why he utilises the World Cup winner in a number six role.
Mac Allister was signed from Brighton and Hove Albion for around £35m during the summer and, having played as a number eight for the majority of his career thus far, was expected to play that role at his new club.
However, following the signings of Dominik Szboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch, Mac Allister has seen his role change, with manager Klopp opting to play him in a number six role just in front of the Liverpool back four.
The Argentine was at his best in his new defensive midfield spot during Sunday’s 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest at Anfield, winning nine duels and recovering the ball for his side on an impressive 11 occasions – with one ball recovery in the defensive third and his subsequent incisive pass to Mohamed Salah leading to the Reds’ first goal of the game.
Speaking to the press after the game, Klopp was asked to give a reason why Mac Allister has been moved to a deep-lying defensive midfield role
“It’s obviously not really a discussion we have otherwise we wouldn’t play him there”, replied Klopp.
“I think today [Sunday] everyone could see the benefit of a player who comes from the offensive side of the game than from the other side.
“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 because not all balls reached the target. 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-pressing and that can happen.
“I am really pleased for him and [he had] a lot of defensively top moments, really killed the counter and stuff like this. He was really there. He’s good in these things, that’s why we play him there. In one-on-one situations he is really good and we have to make sure as a team that the spaces are really small in these moments.
“We can do that with the eights, with the wingers and with the central striker. We can do that with centre-halves who defend into midfield in these moments. Then we have just a really creative player in the centre of the park together with Trent in some moments, which is helpful. Very helpful.”
The win was Liverpool’s 11th of the season already in all competitions, and they’ll look to continue that fine form when they face off against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup on Wednesday evening.