Premier League • England

Liverpool legend buries Klopp signing with ‘clutching at straws’ claim, as Szoboszlai, Mac Allister verdicts given

Liverpool midfielders Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister

Alexis Mac Allister has been no better than a “six out of 10” for Liverpool thus far, while a Reds great believes signing Wataru Endo was “clutching at straws a little bit”.

The Reds embarked on a sweeping midfield rebuild over the summer that saw four new faces arrive. Mac Allister was the first to sign up and was quickly followed by Dominik Szoboszlai.

Liverpool then saw a colossal £110m bid for Moises Caicedo accepted by Brighton. However, the Ecuador international only had eyes for Chelsea who didn’t hesitate to trump Liverpool when bidding a British record £115m.

Romeo Lavia was Liverpool’s back-up, though he too had his heart set on the Blues.

As such, Liverpool turned to option three – Wataru Endo. On deadline day, Ryan Gravenberch made it four new arrivals when signing outright from Bayern Munich.

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Of the quartet, only Endo is an out-and-out holding midfielder. Yet despite selling Fabinho who occupied that role over the last five years, Endo has rarely got a look-in, making just one Premier League start thus far.

Instead, Jurgen Klopp has generally turned to Mac Allister for the deeper role. It’s a position the Argentine can play, though he does lack the defensive nous and athleticism to truly excel in the position.

Now, Liverpool great, Steve McMahon, has run the rule over three of the four new signings while speaking to the Liverpool Echo.

McMahon – a midfielder himself – lifted three titles with the Reds between 1986-90. The 62-year-old believes there’s more to come from Mac Allister, though labelled Szoboszlai “fantastic”.

However, the verdict on Endo was far less rosy. Indeed, McMahon suggested the 30-year-old’s £16m move from Stuttgart was “clutching at straws a little bit”.

Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Endo verdicts

“Szoboszlai looks a fantastic acquisition, and Mac Allister has been okay,” said McMahon. “I mean six out of 10, but he can get better. He can get better.

“Signing Endo, I think, was clutching at straws a little bit. They needed a holding midfielder and all of a sudden, Endo came out of the blue.

“Nobody saw it coming. That’s fine, I don’t think we’ve seen enough of him yet. He’s played a bit-part.

“I just think there is something not quite right, but it’s looking good. It’s looking a lot better than it was at least, that’s for sure.”

The fact Endo has not been entrusted with the holding midfield role despite being the only specialist (18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic aside) is a red flag that cannot be ignored.

As such, and given the Caicedo bid clearly showed Liverpool had cash to splash, it would not come as a surprise if the Reds signed a fifth new midfielder in 2024.

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