If Liverpool avoid defeat against Fulham tonight, they’ll set up another domestic cup final date with Chelsea.
Having been beaten in two snooze-fests in 2022, the Blues would no doubt be desperate to avenge those recent disappointments. But within Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, there may also be one man in particular with a bit of a score to settle – Moises Caicedo.
So far, Liverpool haven’t been made to regret missing out on Caicedo over the summer. Sitting top of the league and going well in all competitions, the Reds haven’t looked to be short. Chelsea on the other hand are currently way down in ninth place in the Premier League.
In the end, with Caicedo sticking to his guns and choosing Stamford Bridge in August, Liverpool have been playing his old Brighton teammate Alexis Mac Allister in his position. And according to BBC Pundit Garth Crooks, Mac Allister is proving to be a quality option.
“Only one team who deserved to win Sunday’s match at Bournemouth, and that was Liverpool,” wrote Crooks, after selecting Liverpool’s No.10 in his Team of the Week. “They dominated from start to finish. Mac Allister was absolutely superb in midfield. He never complicated matters, and played the most exquisite passes at the right time. Since the departures of Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, Liverpool have struggled to fill the defensive midfield role. I never thought Thiago worked there, as even when he played well, he slowed the tempo of the team to almost walking pace. Mac Allister is a different animal entirely.
“He moves the ball on, retaining the pace of Liverpool’s play, and the quality of his passing is excellent. He’s an exceptional player bought at an exceptional price. Why Liverpool were prepared to pay around £111m for Moises Caicedo when Mac Alister only cost half that figure is baffling. In terms of value for money, there is no comparison between the two players.”
Mac Allister filling Caicedo gap
Liverpool’s decision to bid for Caicedo last summer was obviously not linked to the arrival of Mac Allister.
With the Argentine’s signature tied up in June, he’d already been at the club for more than two months by the time the Reds went big on his former teammate.
As a result, the plan was obviously to have the two old Seagulls lining up together in the Liverpool midfield.
Had that been the case, then there’s absolutely no way that Mac Allister would be playing in his deeper-lying role right now. Caicedo was being targeted for that spot, he’s got the potential to be a specialist in it.
When he first arrived, most would have said that Mac Allister does not have that same potential. But having seen him absolutely dominate Bournemouth on Sunday, we think a few people will now be starting to change their minds on that.
In terms of value for money, Crooks is obviously right, you can’t compare the two. At over £100m, Caicedo was incredibly overpriced. He will no doubt turn out to be a good player for Chelsea, but he’s struggled a little so far. If there’s regret here, it isn’t Liverpool’s.
On the other hand, the Reds reportedly paid just £35m to get Mac Allister from the Amex. As a player with more experience, so much quality and a World Cup winner no less, that was a ridiculously good deal.
We’d still have enjoyed seeing Caicedo in this Reds midfield. But if it was one or the other, then we’re delighted with our lot. Fingers crossed they do get the chance to face off on February 24th. Hopefully not, but Caicedo may yet have the last laugh.
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