New Liverpool signing Alexis Mac Allister has confessed he rejected the chance to inherit the club’s vacant number 8 shirt out of respect for Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard wore the shirt for ten years at Anfield and produced some remarkable performances. Following his departure to the MLS in 2015, the shirt was taken up by Naby Keita when he joined Liverpool in 2018.
But the jersey is now vacant after Keita’s exit from the club this summer on a free transfer. Mac Allister was offered the chance to take the 8 shirt – the same number he wore in Argentina with Boca Juniors, but the 24-year-old turned it down to keep the 10 from his Brighton days.
Speaking about his move to Liverpool, the 24-year-old explained why he chose the number 10 jersey.
“One day, I was talking to my dad when he asked me what number I would wear for Liverpool,” said Mac Allister.
“I knew there were several numbers available – including 10 and 8.
“The number 8 shirt is a very important number in that club because of Gerrard, so I hesitated a bit. I ended up choosing the 10, but 8 is a number that I like a lot and has a history at the club.”
The number 10 jersey was famously worn by John Barnes, Philippe Coutinho and, most recently, Sadio Mane. The number was left vacant after Mane’s move to Bayern Munich last summer.
Mac Allister also explained the impact Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had on his decision to move to Anfield.
“After the season ended, I had the chance to talk to Klopp, and he told me about the club, the city and what he wanted,” he continued.
“The main thing was that from the first moment, they communicated with my family and with me; they wanted me to be there.
“When I was able to speak with the coach, it was made even clearer. It’s the small details that made me choose Liverpool. I feel that it is the right step in my career.”
He added: “We all know that Klopp likes to play a lot on the counterattack, but in recent years there has been a change in his way of playing. He explained to me that he needed players to play between the lines and with a winning mentality.
“I’ve always had that mentality – but even more so after the World Cup. I want to win titles – that’s the goal that the club and I have. Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in Europe and the world. Its history makes it like this.
“The fans demonstrate in each match in the way they show up. But as well as history, there is a team with great players and a great coach. From the first moment, they showed me a lot of desire for me to be there.”