20 July 2024

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Liverpool has lost its previous two games and four out of its first six overall coming into Sunday’s Premier League matchup with West Ham United.

Early on, against the Hammers, that troubling pattern almost continued when Michail Antonio forced his way forward and outran Darwin Nez and Dominik Szoboszlai on the Liverpool right. Edson lvarez then came to recover possession and pass the ball to Lucas Paqueta, who sent a pinpoint cross to an unmarked Tomá Souek.


Famous aerial danger Souek appeared to be poised to give David Moyes’ team a 1-0 lead, but Alisson dived in to deflect his header around the post as it appeared to be virtually past him and headed for the bottom left corner.

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The move had all stemmed from an error from Alexis Mac Allister in the West Ham half, with James Ward-Prowse robbing Liverpool’s number 10 after he received a pass from Curtis Jones.


Mac Allister had struggled against Wolves the previous weekend after a late return from international duty with Argentina, producing a sloppy performance before he was substituted at half-time, and you feared it would be more of the same here, that his early mistake would set the tone.


Fortunately, though, he would end up producing arguably his best performance in a Liverpool shirt, finding another level in the second half. Yes, the highlight was probably his assist for Núñez, a sublime dink that exhibited excellent vision, but that was just one of three shot-creating actions after the break, a tally only Andy Robertson could better.


Mac Allister also recovered five loose balls in that period — the joint-highest in the Reds’ ranks — to help keep his side on the front foot. With Liverpool enjoying 63 per cent possession, this was more of a test of his on-the-ball contribution as a number six, and he passed it with flying colors. We’ve previously noted that he’s been a little loose in possession at times, but he completed 48 out of 50 passes in the second half, equating to a magnificent accuracy of 96 per cent.


Alexis Mac Allister shone in the second half as Liverpool beat West Ham

Alexis Mac Allister shone in the second half as Liverpool beat West Ham (Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The 24-year-old, Liverpool’s first summer signing, has already struck up a ‘spectacular’, almost paternal relationship with manager Jürgen Klopp.


“Many of my teammates tease me because they say that he is my dad now,” he said last week (via Goal). “The relationship with him is perfect, he is a very charismatic person, who always tries to be close to the players. He has crazy moments that you might see in a game, and you can’t stop laughing. For me, it is a pleasure to be able to work with him.


“Well, now they caught me, because the last game [Wolves] we returned from the national team I was the only South American who played. Then they told me that he’s my dad, that he can’t take me out, that I had played all the games, and that’s how they drove me crazy. But beyond the joke, the relationship is spectacular, he is a person that I respect, that I respect very much, and I hope that he continues like this and that I can continue learning from him on the field.”


Perhaps it was telling that there was a prolonged embrace from his manager after he was subbed off for Wataru Endō in the 88th minute. The rapport between Klopp and his $45m (£35m/€40m) acquisition seems to be bringing on-field rewards as Mac Allister gets to grips with the expectations of playing as the holding midfielder, having likely anticipated an advanced number eight role when he arrived.


He’s understandably needed more time to adjust than Szoboszlai, who’s been a revelation from the outset, but Liverpool fans should be excited about what he can produce when he’s fully adapted. This, indeed, was an encouraging glimpse of his capabilities against a strong side.

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