Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that he has no issues playing Alexis Mac Allister as a No. 6 for Liverpool, insisting he likes the midfielder in a deeper role.
Liverpool made four midfield summer signings in the last transfer window, but it was only Wataru Endo who arrived on Merseyside as an out-and-out defensive midfielder.
Fans were surprised not to see a true Fabinho replacement come through the door at Anfield, especially after Liverpool lodged a £111m bid for Moises Caicedo - a pursuit which was ultimately unsuccessful.
Mac Allister has been used in the holding role for the majority of the season, but hasn't always been convincing in a deeper midfield position.
Despite some criticism, Klopp has rebuffed suggestions that Mac Allister isn't capable of playing as a No. 6, reiterating that he likes the World Cup winner in that role during his pre-match press conference ahead of the Manchester City game this Saturday.
When quizzed about Mac Allister's suitability, Klopp stated: "I understand that, from the outside world, it's always about 'this player in this position', but in the end it's all about how the whole team is set up.
"Is Macca a natural born No. 6? No. Did football develop in the last years in directions we couldn't have imagined before? Yes.
"Does that mean that a player like Macca can play the six? Definitely.
"It depends too how the whole team defends. That's it. Easy as that. And if you do that properly then you have an incredible player in a central position who finds passes, who is [a] forward-thinking player and all these kinds of things."
He added: "I like him there a lot, to be honest. We as a team, we can benefit a lot from it if we make sure we have a really compact formation, and that's what we need. And that's what we especially need tomorrow [against Man City], of course."
Klopp also explained that he's not sure on his starting lineup for the Man City game yet, meaning there is still the chance that Mac Allister doesn't feature from the start due to fatigue, even if unlikely.
The former Brighton man spent the international break in South America and played in the early hours of Wednesday morning during Argentina's victory over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.
As Klopp said, if Mac Allister does start against Man City, then Liverpool will need to be compact to help him flourish in a tough match.