The Philippe Coutinho link that helped Liverpool sign Alexis Mac Allister

Alexis Mac Allister signing for Liverpool Football Club - Getty Images/Andrew Powell
Alexis Mac Allister signing for Liverpool Football Club - Getty Images/Andrew Powell

Liverpool moved quickly in the summer market to sign Alexis Mac Allister after identifying the Argentina midfielder as having the same transfer profile to their most successful signings such as Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

At 24 and with 200 senior appearances in his career, Jurgen Klopp assessed the market for his midfield rebuild and Mac Allister was seen as having the potential to follow in the footsteps of those players who took their game to another level at Anfield, having shown signs of what they were capable of elsewhere.

It was noted in the work of the recruitment team at Liverpool that Mac Allister had fought his way to become a World Cup winner. After his move to Brighton four years ago, he had two loan spells to build his experience. His Argentina team-mates in Qatar, such as Lionel Messi or Angel Di Maria, were playing in Europe’s top leagues quickly in their career, while it took longer for Mac Allister to establish himself.

He went into the World Cup with eight caps and his international recognition only came at Under-20 level. He was seen as very much a player who battled to get his chance and that his best years are now ahead of him.

Where will Klopp play him?

As reported by the Daily Telegraph last month, the World Cup winner was identified by Klopp as a player of proven Premier League experience to come in as Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out of contract.

But he is seen as a player who can fulfil all of the midfield roles in Klopp’s system. So his position could change from match to match depending on the circumstances. He can sit deep as a No6 as Fabinho has done in recent years.

This is what attracted him to Manchester United, who had him on their shortlist. Erik ten Hag, the United manager, wants a deep-lying midfielder to pick the ball up off his centre-backs and start moves. But Mac Allister could also be the box-to-box No8 to drive Liverpool forward, or even play further up the pitch as a playmaker.

How did they do the deal?

It is understood that Mac Allister was on Liverpool’s radar before the World Cup, when he became one of the most sought after midfielders in the Premier League. Much of the work was done by Julian Ward, Liverpool’s sporting director, even though he is now leaving the club. His successor, Jörg Schmadtke, is now in place and will take the lead on transfers incoming and outgoing.

Liverpool were also helped to complete the deal by having a relationship with Mac Allister’s agent, Juan Gemelli, who was involved in bringing Philippe Coutinho to the club. After completing his medical this week, Mac Allister signed a five-year deal. The fee is undisclosed but is expected to be worth upwards of £35million for a player who had been at the Amex Stadium for four years.

Mac Allister had only signed a new deal at Brighton in October which ran until 2025 with the option of another year. The new terms led to clubs looking at whether there was a buyout clause, with the player’s reputation only enhanced after playing a key role in his country’s triumph in Qatar during the winter.

How did they announce it?

Liverpool’s media team had a bit of fun when they announced that the deal had been completed. They posted a picture of a Liverpool shirt to the music of “Ecuador” by Sash!

This came after a Twitter user asked ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence programme, to make a chant for Mac Allister to the style of a 90s dance-music classic.