It was always going to be a big summer for Liverpool in terms of changes, but the signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai signal a significant shift in how Jürgen Klopp’s side will look next season.
Mac Allister, signed from Brighton for $44m (£35m/€41m), was an excellent start to the business that Liverpool was set to complete this summer — but the Argentine was only ever the start.
Liverpool signaled that part of the reasoning behind moving away from Jude Bellingham this summer was that more than one midfield addition was required — and in Mac Allister and Szoboszlai, it will have duly delivered.
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Last season, Mac Allister scored 12 times (six penalties) and assisted three. Szoboszlai, who has a $77m (£61m/€70m) release clause, scored 10 (two penalties) and assisted 13. Both players have the potential to kick on again with those numbers with the best portion of their careers ahead of them.
During the same period, Liverpool had very few midfield goalscorers, as has been the case for a while. The famed Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum trio, for example, left the scoring to those in front.
There has been something of a shift with Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Fábio Carvalho, but those three only netted 11 between them last season in all competitions. That is clearly the model for the future; Mac Allister and Szoboszlai make it the model for now as well.
If Liverpool was to set up with Fabinho being supported by Trent Alexander-Arnold at the base of its midfield, with Mac Allister and Szoboszlai left and right respectively in the more attacking number eight roles, that would completely transform Klopp’s side.
The emphasis would remain, of course, on those in the forward line to continue to score goals, but they would be supplemented by a genuine goal threat from behind — something that has often not been the case previously.
Both Mac Allister and Szoboszlai can shoot from distance, which should encourage defenses to close them down, therefore creating more space in behind for players like Luis Díaz and Diogo Jota to exploit.
The duo offer a significant amount of final-third threat and one thing absolutely certain about this Liverpool team next season is that it should score plenty of goals.
Spreading the burden of creating and finding the back of the net is exactly what Liverpool needs to take the next step in its midfield evolution, with the likes of Elliott and Jones also fitting perfectly into those positions as they continue to develop.
In Mac Allister and now Szoboszlai, Liverpool has formed the most exciting midfield pair ahead of Fabinho that the Brazilian has played with, with loads of flair and technical ability.
The challenge is to prove that can be just as effective as the more ‘functional’ trio that won the lot — but it is certainly going to be very exciting.