Teamwork makes the dream work

Liverpool’s Brighton triumph confirmed why lacking star is now undroppable

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It is April 1st, 2023. The joke is on Liverpool. A dismal marketing campaign rages on, the pursuit of silverware is in tatters and the Merseysiders are thrashed 4-1 on the Etihad Stadium towards Manchester Metropolis, knocking the Reds into eighth place within the Premier League.

One 12 months later, to the day, Jurgen Klopp‘s aspect perch on the summit of England’s top-flight, they’ve defeated Brighton & Hove Albion the day earlier than in a hard-fought, gripping Anfield contest to reclaim prime spot, hours later watching title rivals Manchester Metropolis and Arsenal poke one another towards an insipid goalless stalemate.

Klopp’s prices are solely two factors clear and 9 fixtures are left to play; subsequent weekend, the German will search vengeance at Outdated Trafford after Manchester United remarkably got here from behind to knock their arch-rivals out of the FA Cup earlier than the March worldwide break.

There’s loads of motion to be contested, twists and turns to spin additional narratives from this splendidly winding three-horse race.

However Liverpool have belied pre-season perception to mesh all of it collectively, renewed following the sweeping summer time possibilities to the midfield.

There was one man above all others who made his mark with an all-encompassing show in Alexis Mac Allister, who has been completely sensible in latest weeks and appears an actual discount after signing from Brighton in a £35m package deal final summer time.

Alexis Mac Allister’s efficiency vs Brighton

Mac Allister was thrown right into a extra defensive midfield placement than he would have hoped for all through the primary a number of months of his Liverpool profession, and although he has been industrious and dynamic on this deep-lying place, the Argentina worldwide’s latest performances have demonstrated why he should be unleashed in a extra roaming function.

Alexis Mac Allister: Latest Premier League Kind

Recreation

Consequence

Minutes performed

Targets

Assists

Brighton (H)

2-1 win

90′

0

1

Man Metropolis (H)

1-1 draw

90′

1

0

Nottingham Forest (A)

0-1 win

90′

0

1

Luton City (H)

4-1 win

89′

0

2

Brentford (A)

4-1 win

83′

1

0

Stats by way of Transfermarkt

His latest Premier League kind has been emphatic, and, furthermore, he posted a aim and help apiece away towards Sparta Prague within the Europa League final 16 and netted towards Manchester United final month.

Towards his former outfit on Sunday afternoon, Mac Allister was far and away one of the best participant on the pitch, craving the Seagulls open on quite a few events and inserting the all-important help for Mohamed Salah to lastly get his aim, foiled on so many events already.

Writing in his post-match feedback, the Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle bestowed upon Mac Allister a shocking 9/10 match score, writing: ‘Probed all through the primary half together with his passing and willingness to shoot. Robust within the sort out and the press and used possession intelligently, not least with very good help for the winner.’

As per Sofascore, the 25-year-old complemented his clever help for Salah’s winner with success in 92% of his passes, making 5 key passes for his teammates, rifling off 5 makes an attempt on aim, profitable 5 floor duels and making three tackles, three clearances and one interception.

Dominik Szoboszlai made an impression after the break, having toiled within the opening half, nevertheless it’s clear who’s Liverpool’s true lynchpin within the engine room, and Mac Allister is definitely now undroppable for the membership’s title run-in.

He is not the one one although, with one other participant proving they’re indispensable in Klopp’s beginning line-up regardless of not truly enjoying a minute towards Roberto De Zerbi’s fluid aspect.

That man is Ibrahima Konate, so season-definingly necessary alongside Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s rearguard.

Why Ibrahima Konate is now undroppable

This isn’t to discredit Jarell Quansah. The 21-year-old centre-half has labored wonders stepping as much as the primary workforce this time period and has compensated excellently after Joel Matip ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament again in December.

Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah.

Matip has lengthy been hailed for his penetrating runs and misleading technical high quality, very singular in his craft, however Quansah seems like a factory-built alternative and certainly ranks among the many prime 1% of central defenders throughout Europe’s prime 5 leagues over the previous 12 months for passes tried, the highest 20% for shot-creating actions and progressive passes and the highest 8% for profitable take-ons per 90, as per FBref.

However towards Brighton, Liverpool’s proper aspect, consisting of Quansah and memorable full-back expertise Conor Bradley, aged 20, was targetted and appeared inclined to the guests’ blistering breaks, with Danny Welbeck’s thumping strike earlier than 90 seconds leaving a nerve-wracked temper pervading Anfield.

Jakub Moder was a menace and tried 4 dribbles all through the affair, tilting onto his offensive left aspect. Bradley’s eagerness to maraud the wing left Quansah uncovered. Brighton took benefit. Or tried to with regularity, a minimum of.

Quansah is a high-level prospect and definitely has the trimmings of a daily starter in Liverpool’s squad, however he would not but have the elite athleticism or ingrained powers of restoration that Konate gives so expertly.

It is most enjoyable that the 6 foot 5 titan is already acting at his present commonplace, with a lot room left for development, however Konate proved with out touching a inexperienced blade that he should be unleashed from the outset on the largest events henceforth.

The France worldwide is a hulking, monstrous presence of a defender however he’s additionally deft and swift and endowed with all-registering spatial consciousness.

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate

He ranks among the many prime 16% of positional friends throughout Europe’s prime 5 leagues over the previous 12 months for shot-creating actions, the highest 10% for passes tried, the highest 14% for progressive passes, the highest 19% for profitable take-ons, the highest 12% for tackles and the highest 5% for aerial duel wins per 90.

Within the Premier League this season, throughout 19 outings, Konate averages 4.4 ball recoveries per recreation and comes out on prime in 65% of his duels. The bottom he covers bespeaks his vitality and ubiquity alongside his captain, and he is been described as an “athletic phenomenon” by expertise scout Jacek Kulig accordingly.

Liverpool host imperilled Sheffield United on Thursday night earlier than travelling to Manchester subsequent weekend. Maybe Klopp will likely be disinclined to begin his French phenom on each events after lacking out on the previous a number of weeks of motion with an damage.

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The Reds have been pressured to show their consideration away from Xabi Alonso.

However make no mistake, Konate should begin towards Man United, very important in closing down and nullifying the likes of Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund.

Van Dijk takes the lion’s share of the plaudits as a rule, however Konate is just like the flour within the cake for this exceptional Liverpool workforce. He’s the actual deal.