Andros Townsend has hailed Liverpool’s new-look midfield and singled out two unsung heroes in Jurgen Klopp’s team. Townsend played against the Reds for Luton earlier this month and was left in awe by their new-look side.
Liverpool have exceeded expectations with their start to the Premier League season. The Merseyside club sit second in the table, just a point behind three-time back-to-back champions Manchester City.
The summer saw a major rebuild of Klopp’s midfield, with five players leaving at the end of last season and four new signings brought in. Stalwarts such as Jordan Henderson and Fabinho were replaced by Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.
Mac Allister was already familiar to Liverpool fans due to his three years at Brighton. The Argentina star has been asked to play as a defensive midfielder in his early days with the Reds.
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His performances have gone under the radar somewhat but not with opposition players. Townsend, who joined Luton as a free agent in October, was mightily impressed with Liverpool and Mac Allister in particular.
Asked about Liverpool’s new-look midfield, Townsend told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Completely different. I think two years ago they sort of had the two No 6s, Henderson and Fabinho, who were the workhorses of the side.
“[They] didn’t really get forward as much, they were prepared to sit back and wait for the counter-attack and then cut out any counter-attacks that happen and feed the ball back to the attacking players. Whereas now, when the ball’s at the feet of [Joe] Gomez, [Virgil] Van Dijk or [Ibrahima] Konate, you’ve got three midfielders who all have the quality to get on the ball, get turned, play forward.
“Mac Allister’s the No 6 now and he’s got immense quality. It’s so tough, you can’t really allow anyone to have the ball. You’re constantly scanning.”
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Another player who perhaps doesn’t get the credit his performances deserve is Diogo Jota. The Portugal star is over the injury problems which troubled him last season and has featured in 11 of the 12 league games so far this term.
He has scored four goals but Townsend says his movement is also hard to keep an eye on. He added: “You’ve got Jota who likes to come inside, he likes to drop deep, [Mohamed] Salah who roams, and you’ve got Nunez running behind.
“It’s literally bombardment, you haven’t got a moment’s rest, you always have to be switched on. You always have to be thinking about who’s where, who’s rolled out into what position, who’s now your man.
“It’s a constant [test], you have to be switched on for 90 minutes against Liverpool these days.”
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