So, the Jude Bellingham dream is over, for those who were foolish enough to believe the move would happen.
That includes me.
England’s brightest talent looks set to join Real Madrid in the near future and Liverpool are now left looking at alternatives instead, ahead of one of the most important transfer windows in recent memory.
In truth, blowing a huge chunk of the transfer budget on one player made little sense – if this season is anything to go by, Bellingham would have broken his leg on his debut! – and Jurgen Klopp now needs to focus on bringing in three or four new faces in the middle of the park.
One of the current front-runners to make the move to Anfield is Alexis Mac Allister, with recent reports suggesting that Liverpool consider him a primary transfer target.
Of all the numerous individuals being tipped to help solve the Reds’ midfield woes, from Nicolo Barella to Mason Mount, the Argentine looks like a standout contender to come in and make a world of difference.
This season, Mac Allister has been a vital member of a vibrant Brighton team – one who can still pip Klopp’s men to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.
Accompanied by Moises Caicedo – another reported Liverpool target – and Pascal Gross, the 24-year-old has been everything you want in a midfielder, and precisely what the Reds need this summer.
Combining technical quality, tactical awareness, a strong team ethic and box-to-box energy, Mac Allister helped the Seagulls run the Reds ragged in both league games, with the 3-3 draw at Anfield harsh on the visitors, and their 3-0 victory on the south coast richly deserved.
This season, he has chipped in with eight goals in the league – the most by any Liverpool midfielder is one, or two if we’re counting Fabio Carvalho in that role – showing the much-needed end product he would bring to the team.
Guile has been sorely lacking in that area for too long, but Mac Allister can bring it in abundance, as well as the legs that have been non-existent at times this season.
This isn’t a Frank Lampard-esque figure who scores goals but has others doing his defensive duties for him, however, with Mac Allister averaging 2.1 tackles per game in the league in 2022/23, which is only bettered by Caicedo (3.0) at Brighton. This is a footballer who can master both the beautiful and the tenacious.
He is also someone who has only recently tasted World Cup glory with Argentina, proving to be such an important member of the team as the tournament went on. A vital goal in the group stage win over Poland was added to by an assist in the final against France, as he burst forward and laid the ball on a plate for Angel Di Maria.
This is a top-level midfielder who is ready to make the next step in his career, with all due respect to an excellent Brighton side, and he and Liverpool look like a match made in heaven.
The fans would take to him in no time, given his selfless style, and he could be absolutely perfect in the right-sided No.8 role that Jordan Henderson have toiled in all season long, linking with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mo Salah.
At 24, his best years still lie ahead of him and his injury record is largely immaculate – he couldn’t be further from Thiago, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in that respect – and Liverpool must do all they can to get him.
Manchester United are also reportedly keen and are likely to be able to offer him Champions League football, but if Klopp can entice him to Anfield, the Reds could have a real gem on their hands for many years to come.
It is essential that Mac Allister is part of a major midfield rebuild and it appears as though Klopp sees him as exactly that.