Alexis Mac Allister: The World Cup Winner Headed For Anfield

Argentine Alexis Mac Allister has finally secured a dream move to Liverpool, and his journey to get there is nothing short of remarkable. Born to a footballing family, the former Brighton man started his career with Argentinos Juniors in 2016, winning the Argentine second division in his debut season. After joining Brighton and Hove Albion in 2019, he was immediately loaned back to Juniors for the rest of the season to ensure a smooth transition to life in the Premier League.


Representing Argentina at the under-23 level, he went on to win the 2020 CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament whilst playing at the Summer Olympics in the same year. His incredible journey to the summit of European football hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Brighton moved quickly to tie him down to a contract with fresh terms just prior to the 2022 Qatar World Cup. The intention of Brighton owner Tony Bloom was clear – assure the Brighton hierarchy of a big fee should they sell him to a fellow Premier League club in the near future.


Ultimately, that’s exactly what happened, but Bloom and deputy chairman Paul Barber will be counting the notes coming through the door which has only been made possible due to their extraordinary scouting network. Players such as Moises Caicedo, Karou Mitoma, Julio Enciso and Mac Allister himself typify how the club have produced such a sustainable player recruitment model. Mac Allister is slightly different to the rest, however. He was a known quantity in Argentina and was seen as the exception to the rule when Brighton came calling in January 2019.


The following June, Mac Allister completed a loan move to the Argentine giants Boca Juniors. The well-known hostile atmosphere inside the Estadio Alberto J.Armando wasn’t anything new for a player who had come from humble beginnings and was more than used to being subject to abuse from opposition fans.



Upon completion of the move, he joined Boca alongside his brother Kevin. Alexis made an immediate impact and scored on his debut for the club with his team’s only goal in the first leg of a Copa Libertadores round of sixteen victory over Athletico Paranense. Brighton, who were watching Mac Allister’s progress closely, had seen what one of their prized assets was producing in South America and pulled the plug on the loan to bring him back to the Amex.


Mac Allister played his first home game for the Seagulls in a 2-1 home win over Arsenal, a match overshadowed by a season-ending injury to Gunners’ goalkeeper Bernd Leno after a scuffle with Neal Maupay. Mac Allister immediately started to exhibit the qualities of a typical South American unicorn footballer.


He dropped deep facing his own goal and swiveled away from a lazy Arsenal press a flicked the ball perfectly beyond a helpless Dani Ceballos to start a counterattack. Despite the empty stadium, the Sky commentators were perplexed by the ability of the Argentine, and it was clear to see the talent of a player who had clearly benefited from a longer period in the comfort of familiar surroundings back home.


Amongst a Brighton side full of technical quality, Mac Allister added to a pack of already extremely well-drilled professionals. His career progression then sky-rocketed in to a conversation of Premier League clubs starting to circle for his signature. Despite the premature interest in a player who had yet to perform on a drastic scale, the talent was clear.


Fast forward to the start of the 2022-2023 Premier League season, Mac Allister really starts to look the part. Just three months before a World Cup which he would go on to win as part of an incredible story surrounding team captain Lionel Messi, the Brighton man seamlessly fitted into Graham Potter’s side with the clear goal in mind of European football come the end of the campaign.


A man-of-the-match performance in a 5-2 home win over Leicester City piqued the interest of European football’s biggest clubs, with Real Madrid, Liverpool and Barcelona all said to be watching the Argentine closely. His performance against a lacklustre Leicester team included two goals along with a sensational free kick that powered past Danny Ward in the Foxes’ net. The performance really was one to remember, and Mac Allister quickly committed his future to the club when he put pen to paper on a new and improved contract tying him down until 2025 at the very least.


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Reports in the media about a potential release clause were initially seen as wide of the mark, which would inevitably be proved to be true due to Mac Allister’s camp seeming to be angling for a later move to one of Europe’s top clubs. Many saw the Argentine as a key cog in Graham Potter’s side, but once the Englishman left to join Chelsea, Mac Allister became unsettled, with reliable sources in the media suggesting that a move to Liverpool may come to fruition at the end of the season.


It didn’t come as a surprise post-World Cup that the Reds were in talks with Mac Allister and his people. Credible journalist Fabrizio Romano dropped the news on Twitter and the inevitable stories of a move in the summer looked all but confirmed. After Roberto De Zerbi had joined the club, Mac Allister’s Brighton clicked into gear beyond the foundations which Graham Potter had laid out prior to De Zerbi’s arrival. The high-risk nature of the Italian’s tactics with players such as Lewis Dunk and Levi Colwill keeping the ball under heaps of pressure before releasing it to a teammate was astounding, but it absolutely worked.


Mac Allister was a key cog in that system and was often the first one to receive the ball with his back facing the oncoming opposition player only to spin in behind them. His skillset looked to cut from the cloth of a player usually deemed to be too good for Brighton, and his capabilities to produce incredible moments of quality in tight situations only prove that further. Later in the season, De Zerbi’s dream of shoehorning Brighton into the Europa League came true.


Despite a shock 5-1 home stuffing by Everton in early May, Mac Allister and co stepped up to the big occasion when it really mattered. His 99th-minute penalty to beat Manchester United 1-0 and a scintillating midfield performance in a 3-0 away win at Arsenal either side of the Everton defeat all but secured Brighton Europa League football. The following week, the Seagulls confirmed their European fate in a 1-1 home draw to already-champions Manchester City and Mac Allister looked on as the home faithful thanked him for his fantastic performances throughout what was an exceptional season, knowing he was likely to leave the club just weeks later.


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Once Liverpool came sniffing with the idea of paying the release clause in Mac Allister’s contract, the Reds moved quickly to secure his services even before the transfer window opened. On June 8th, the Argentine signed for Liverpool after they had activated the release clause in his contract. He committed to a lucrative five-year deal for a fee mooted to be in the region of £35 million plus performance-based add on which could total upwards of £55m. Notably, he will wear the famous number ten shirt of Liverpool having been vacated after the departure of club legend Sadio Mane in 2022.


Jurgen Klopp’s side will be looking to significantly improve on what was an extremely disappointing campaign last time out. Albeit a late surge towards Champions League qualification, Klopp’s men fell short finishing four points behind Newcastle United. Veteran midfielder James Milner has since left the club to join Brighton with Mac Allister going in the opposite direction to ensure a much-needed shake-up in the centre of the park. Players such as Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Jordan Henderson who have been so reliable in recent seasons, seem to have physically fallen of a cliff since the beginning of the previous campaign, and Mac Allister’s arrival will provide the Reds with an alternative dynamic both in and out of possession.


An ageing squad looking for a new lease of life has seemingly been compromised, with clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle eclipsing the physical capabilities of Klopp’s men. Argentine dynamo Mac Allister will surely offer so much more to a team that looked bereft of confidence for the majority of last season and push them on to another battle at the top of the Premier League with treble-winners Manchester City and runners-up Arsenal.


By: Tom Norton / @tomnorton_

@GabFoligno / Peter Cziborra – PA Images