Jurgen Klopp claims Alexis Mac Allister was ‘exhausted’ as he was withdrawn at the interval in Liverpool’s 3-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Argentine midfielder started alongside Dominik Szoboszlai and Curtis Jones in the center of the park but lasted only 45 minutes, with Klopp opting to bring on Luis Diaz in his place for the second half. Mac Allister came into the game having played two games for Argentina over the course of the international break, the second of which was at Estadio Hernando Siles in Bolivia against the home team.
The stadium, which is located in Bolivia’s capital city of La Paz at an altitude of 3637 meters above sea level, posed an imposing challenge to the players. Several Argentina stars – including Mac Allister – were spotted with oxygen tubes in their hands ahead of the game, indicating that playing football there is quite the task due to the geography of the stadium.
Speaking after the Reds’ 3-1 win at Molineux, Klopp admitted that the Mac Allister was relieved to be subbed off and also joked he should’ve had his oxygen mask on longer for Argentina.
He said (quotes via Evening Standard): “He was done. Yellow card and he was exhausted in the first half already. We know how good Alexis is, in the first half his decision-making… we saw during the week when he had the oxygen mask on, and I thought a couple of times they should have left it on a little bit longer – that would have helped maybe!
“It was just tough. When you’re in a game like this, it’s pretty likely you’ll come to a challenge a bit too late and then you have the second yellow and that’s it. That’s all. He had good moments in the first half, but he had some other moments as well and you could see them. He was not really disappointed when we took him off. I think he was rather relieved.”
The 24-year-old has enjoyed a solid start to his Liverpool career but faced arguably his toughest test against Wolves as he looked out of sorts after a tough international break and an early booking. With Liverpool traveling to Austria to take on LASK in the UEFA Europa League, Mac Allister is likely to be named on the bench in midweek, with the likes of Wataru Endo, Harvey Elliott and Ryan Gravenberch all in contention to start ahead of him.