Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby believes the performance of Alexis Mac Allister could be crucial in the top-of-the-table clash with Manchester City.
While the two teams are generally well-matched in most positions, the hosts boast Rodri, who is regarded as the world’s best in the holding role, while Jurgen Klopp has had to field Mac Allister as a makeshift number six.
It is an unfamiliar position for the Argentina World Cup winner, who is more effective in a slightly more advanced role, but he has been asked to do a job as Liverpool’s all-new midfield still takes shape after a summer overhaul.
Japan international Wataru Endo was one of four midfield arrivals in the summer and while he is accustomed to the defensive job, the 30-year-old has been entrusted with only two Premier League starts and is unlikely to be in consideration against the defending champions.
“When you look at the midfield three, I still think we need to find the right balance and combination,” Molby told the PA news agency at the launch of the club’s Ultimate LFC Experience, a package which includes giving fans the opportunity to train at Melwood – the former home of the men’s team and current training base of the women’s side.
“We’ve managed to get away with that midfield from game to game, but there is every chance Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez will be playing in there and he (Mac Allister) will have to look after those and that’s a big job in itself.
“You only have to look at City and what happened when Rodri was out through suspension and they lost games (against Wolves and Arsenal) – that’s how important a world-class number six is.
“When you look at the teams who are doing well, they all have a world-class number six so that’s an area where we might need to look at.
“The majority of games we will get away with it because of the general quality we have, but there might be one or two games where we go ‘we need someone better in that position’.
“That is not a criticism of Alexis as he is not a number six, he is more of a number eight, so the quicker we can get in there the quicker we will improve.”
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