Klopp must unleash “eye-catching” Liverpool star with Mac Allister

Jurgen Klopp would typically play down the notion that his side are firmly at the front of the Premier League title race, but with each passing matchweek, the chances of gleaning the glinted trophy increase.

Liverpool were abject last season; limp and listless, a fifth-place finish spelt the end of an illustrious run in the Champions League and forced Klopp to enforce sweeping changes to the midfield – something that, frankly, was long overdue.


It wasn’t that the Anfield bosses were… circumspect, but perhaps a little too fixated on landing the perfect player to enhance the existing ranks, though last summer the right moves were made to charge the pursuit of silverware this season.

And now, past the Premier League season’s midpoint, Liverpool are to travel to AFC Bournemouth to maintain their grasp on the top position, though given that the Cherries have won seven and lost just one of their past nine outings across all competitions, this won’t be easy.

Liverpool team news vs Bournemouth

Klopp is juggling more than a few absences at present, though the German will still be convinced that his available members have what it takes to level the Vitality Stadium with all three points.

Victory this afternoon will take the Reds five points clear of second-placed Manchester City, albeit having played an extra match.

Liverpool: List of Absences



Expected Return Date

Joel Matip

ACL injury


Stefan Bajcetic

Stress response


Thiago Alcantara

Groin/Hip injury


Kostas Tsimikas

Shoulder injury


Andrew Robertson

Shoulder injury


Trent Alexander-Arnold

Knee injury


Dominik Szoboszlai

Thigh injury


Wataru Endo

No return date

Asia Cup

Mohamed Salah

No return date

African Cup of Nations

With an extended list of absentees, Liverpool will need to produce a cohesive and fluent performance against Andoni Iraola’s men, with the likely return of Alexis Mac Allister to the starting fold in the Premier League coming at the perfect time, having now recovered from a knee injury.

Why Alexis Mac Allister must start vs Bournemouth

Liverpool signed Mac Allister from Brighton & Hove Albion for a bargain fee of £35m in June, with the dynamic midfielder basking in a brilliant 2022/23 campaign that saw him win the World Cup with Argentina and lead the Seagulls toward European qualification for the first time in the club’s history.

Liverpool’s weary midfield was at the epicentre of the struggles last term and Mac Allister, energetic, intelligent and enterprising, was viewed as the perfect fit to rekindle the fire at the heart of Klopp’s system.

He hasn’t played quite the role that he might have expected, deployed as the holding midfielder across 18 of his 21 appearances, but he has been vital for the fluency and progression.

As per Sofascore, the 25-year-old has completed 88% of his passes in the top-flight this term, averaging 2.1 tackles and 5.9 ball recoveries per match and succeeding with 64% of his attempted dribbles.

Asserting control against a Bournemouth team that will look to break with a high-intensity approach and inflict damage on the counter will be paramount, and Mac Allister offers the technical control to ensure that Liverpool make good use of their best qualities and craft openings to kill the game off.

Alexis Mac Allister: Key Characteristics







Direct free-kicks

*Sourced via WhoScored

Indeed, as per FBref, the £150k-per-week dynamo ranks among the top 16% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for shot-creating actions, the top 8% for shots taken, the top 20% for progressive carries and the top 19% for progressive passes and successful take-ons per 90.

While fellow summer signing Wataru Endo’s industriousness and tenacity in his defensive midfield duties have allowed him to serve well in Mac Allister’s absence over the past month, there is a gulf in technique between the respective players and the latter will be essential in ensuring Liverpool grab all the goods on the south coast.

On the note of absentees, influential vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold is also still in a period of convalescence after injuring his knee in the FA Cup victory over Arsenal earlier in the month, and, with Joe Gomez deputising at left-back, youngster Conor Bradley could be in line to continue his exciting run of form.

Conor Bradley could shine again

Hailed for his “eye-catching cameo” at the Emirates Stadium by The Athletic’s James Pearce, Bradley was handed his first domestic start of the season several days later as Liverpool hosted Fulham in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals, producing an arresting display down the right channel and being crowned the Man of the Match.

During that game, the 20-year-old made six tackles, won ten ground duels, completed 88% of his passes, made two key passes for his teammates and succeeded with two dribbles, performing admirably against the fleet-footed Antonee Robinson.

Having spent the 2022/23 term on loan in League Two with Bolton Wanderers, earning the club’s Player of the Season award after achieving promotion, Bradley was touted for a senior role this season but was struck with injury in pre-season and only made his first appearance at the end of November, against Union Saint Gilloise in the Europa League.

Calm and composed in possession and eager to join attacking surges when the opportunity permits, Bradley has the trappings of a rounded full-back and will relish the opportunity to impress in the Premier League.

It’s a big ask to entrust a relatively untested youngster with a starting berth in a big match, but Klopp has full confidence in Bradley’s abilities and he has already demonstrated his potential against high-class opposition earlier this month, receiving effusive remarks after efforts against Arsenal and Fulham.

Unleashing the promising full-back – as well as Mac Allister – could prove the perfect formula to help ruin Bournemouth’s day, and their fine recent run, at the Vitality Stadium.

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