Premier League • England

Liverpool UCL winner names ‘best’ Reds summer signing but questions team-mate causing Klopp ‘big issue’

Alexis Mac Allister, Liverpool

Former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann has heaped praise on Alexis Mac Allister, labelling him the club’s ‘best’ arrival from the summer, though another player has picked up criticism as he is giving Jurgen Klopp a headache.

Mac Allister joined Liverpool from fellow Premier League side Brighton in July. Liverpool spent an initial £35million on him, though the deal had the potential to rise to £55m depending on add-ons. The 24-year-old had just enjoyed an excellent campaign, helping Argentina to win the World Cup and playing a crucial role in Brighton qualifying for Europe for the first time in their history.

At Anfield, Mac Allister was expected to take up a similar attacking midfield role to the one he had been shining in for Brighton. But the departures of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to Saudi Arabia forced Klopp into a re-think, utilising Mac Allister as a No 6 and also landing Wataru Endo as a backup.

Mac Allister initially struggled in this new position, though he has gradually gotten used to what Klopp is asking of him, and his form has therefore picked up recently. The former Boca Juniors ace has also looked sharp when selected further forward in more of a No 8 role.

Unfortunately for Klopp and Liverpool, Mac Allister has missed the last three games after picking up a nasty injury during the 2-0 away win over Sheffield United on December 6. It was initially thought to be just a light knee injury, but Klopp has since revealed that a stud went right down to Mac Allister’s bone, which means he may be out for an extended period.

During an appearance on talkSPORT, Hamann – who helped Liverpool win the Champions League in 2005 – has analysed the club’s new arrivals, and Mac Allister came out on top.

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“I do like [Wataru] Endo, I saw a lot of him in Germany and he scored a good goal a couple of weeks ago so I thought he is adapting to the pace of the Premier League,” the German pundit said.

“[Dominik] Szoboszlai had a good start to the season but has gone a bit quiet now. [Ryan] Gravenberch is a capable player.

One Liverpool ace called ‘best midfielder so far’

“I think they are missing Alexis Mac Allister, he is probably the best midfielder so far.”

However, Hamann was far less positive when speaking about centre-forward Darwin Nunez. The Uruguayan has only scored once in his last 11 appearances for Liverpool across all competitions, leading to suggestions Cody Gakpo might come in as his replacement up front.

Jamie Carragher also criticised Nunez for ignoring the ball and complaining to the referee during the 0-0 draw with Man Utd on Sunday, when he could have attempted to score a tap-in.

“I think the big issue is the form of Nunez,” Hamann added.

“Since he scored them goals away to Newcastle I thought he had come into his own now and be the striker that everyone expected him to be.

“I think he has scored only one or two goals and his form is a bit of a worry.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool could miss out on the signing of a talented Brazilian to Leicester, as the Foxes have reportedly begun the bidding for him.