Jurgen Klopp admits he is yet to find the perfect fit for Alexis Mac Allister in Liverpool’s new-look midfield as the former Brighton star prepares to face his old club on Sunday.
Since moving to Liverpool in the close season, Mac Allister has been deployed in a deep-lying midfield role that differs significantly from the way he was used at Brighton.
The Argentine World Cup winner operated in an advanced position closer to the strikers for Brighton, but Liverpool manager Klopp needed to fill his midfield holding berth after the departures of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
Although Mac Allister has started all seven of Liverpool’s Premier League fixtures, he has looked more effective when given the chance to roam into attacking areas and was substituted at half-time against Wolves after a lacklustre display.
Speaking before Mac Allister’s return to the Amex Stadium, Klopp insisted he was more than satisfied with the 24-year-old, but would like to find a permanent position for him.
“We didn’t even look for his best position yet. We just use him. He is a fantastic player. I love everything about him,” Klopp said on Friday.
“If we as a team defend well, he can play definitely the number six. Did I know that before? I had a guess but I was not sure because I did not know exactly how all the other boys would do defending.
“We have a really good footballer and it is really cool but best position? He is too young for me to know it but he is a midfielder, I can tell you that.”
Mac Allister is one part of Klopp’s midfield overhaul, with Dominik Szoboszlai arriving from RB Leipzig, Wataru Endo signed from Stuttgart and Ryan Gravenberch bought from Bayern Munich.
Curtis Jones, an emerging graduate of Liverpool’s youth academy, has also featured regularly in midfield this season.
Netherlands international Gravenberch caught the eye with his first goal in the 2-0 Europa League victory over Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday.
“He is technically incredibly good. The first touch is insane, the speed is top class, really good shooter,” Klopp said.
“Yes he came late and yes we play slightly different and yes he needs time to adapt, and that is what we can give him, thank God.
“He is completely happy with that and in the groove. He realises in each training session he is treated completely like others, if he starts or not.”
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