Liverpool could find Alexis Mac Allister perfect partner to truly unleash potential of £35m man

Alexis Mac Allister of Liverpool during the Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield on May 19 2024
-Credit: (Image: James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)

Alexis Mac Allister must have been wondering when he would ever catch a break as a Liverpool player.

The Argentina World Cup winner had impressed throughout pre-season in an accustomed advanced midfield role before dutifully beginning the campaign as an emergency number six due to the Reds' transfer and availability issues.

His home debut against Bournemouth was cut short after less than an hour when he received a harsh red card that was subsequently quashed. And when, in the next game at Newcastle United, Mac Allister started in his regular position, Liverpool's gameplan went out of the window after half-an-hour following the dismissal of Virgil van Dijk.

End-of-season ratings:

Alisson Becker

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Ibrahima Konate

Luis Diaz

Cody Gakpo

Darwin Nunez

Harvey Elliott

Virgil van Dijk

Diogo Jota

It wasn't then until December that Mac Allister was able to again begin a Premier League match in a number eight position, only to pick up an injury early on that ultimately cut his evening short and ruled him out for a month. And then when he returned to action, he spent another five weeks back as the defensive midfielder until Wataru Endo returned from Asia Cup duties.

But it says much about Mac Allister's attitude and aptitude that he was already being regarded as one of Liverpool's best players of the season before finally being able to fully blossom in more creative positions. Certainly, the Reds triggering his £35million release clause from Brighton last summer may well prove one of the canniest purchases of the Jurgen Klopp era, arguably the best value Premier League signing of the window.

The 25-year-old, though, had his struggles operating in the deeper midfield role, his occasionally mistimed tackling leading to five bookings and an early suspension in mid-November. But his outstanding showing in the next game, the 1-1 draw at Manchester City, was a sign he had finally clicked with the position. Indeed, it was the following week he smashed in arguably Liverpool's goal of the season in the 4-3 win over Fulham.

However, the final third of the campaign was when Mac Allister started realising his potential, the protection of having Endo behind him helping prompt six goals and five assists as the Argentine began to produce the numbers to go with his performances.

In fact, Liverpool's reliance on Mac Allister was such he appeared understandably jaded at times during the pivotal closing weeks. And with the Copa America to come with Argentina next month, there is little sign of the player being able to take an extended break any time soon.

But the much-needed purchase of an established number six this summer would ease the burden on Mac Allister and allow him to further harness his undoubted threat in more attacking midfield positions. Having exhausted himself for the cause on his debut Liverpool season, it's the very least he deserves.

End-of-season rating: 8