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Alexis Mac Allister on Liverpool Showing Superior Mentality vs. Arsenal

Arsenal’s surprise tactics unsettled the Reds in the first half of their FA Cup tie, but they soon settled before advancing with a 2-0 victory.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Following his arrival from Birghton last summer, it hasn’t taken 25-year-old World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister to establish himself as one of manager Jürgen Klopp’s favourite players.

The versatile Argentine has played in multiple roles in midfield and has tactically shown himself well capable of acting as an extension of the manager on the pitch.

Against Arsenal in the FA Cup, his flexibility and leadership qualities were again key as he helped to steady a Liverpool side caught out by Arsenal’s unusual tactical approach.

“We played against a very good team, very tough, but in the end we got the win,” Liverpool’s new midfield leader said following the match. “That’s the most important thing,”

“It was a tough game, and maybe in the first half they were better and had some better opportunities, but in the second half we defended very well and we showed our mentality.”

Playing with a pair of reserved strikers—or tens or false nines—to aid in the midfield battle while pushing their wingers wide, Arsenal gave Liverpool major match-up headaches early on.

Liverpool, though, buckled down to battle in midfield and pushed their pace players wide to counter Arsenal’s threat, leading to a back and fourth affair that favoured the clinical Reds.

“First half we didn’t realise that they were doing one-vs-one on the whole pitch, but in the second half we learned,” Mac Allister added of the situation and Liverpool’s half-time adjustments.

“We played some long balls and we put them into Darwin and Lucho in behind and that was very important and they did very well to help the team to attack and score goals.”

With no Premier League game this weekend and a full week off between League Cup semi-final dates, Mac Allister and many of the other starters from Sunday could be in contention again mid-week.

In those two upcoming games they take on Fulham, with the home date at Anfield first and then away at Craven Cottage, for a chance to face Middlesbrough or Chelsea in the final.

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