Steven Alzate prepares for the ‘Clasico’ as he returns to full swing in Belgium.
That, he was told this week, is the buzzword for matches between arch-rivals Standard Liège and Anderlecht.
Alzate, on loan from Albion, impresses in Standard’s midfield.
With three games, he’s in the middle of a week he hasn’t tackled in a long time.
After an impressive 3:0 win against the then league leaders Antwerp and a 0:2 defeat against Mechelen, the triple list is completed by a game against Anderlecht.
This is considered by many French to be the biggest game in Belgium, although the Dutch could opt for Brugge versus Anderlecht.
Alzate shouldn’t be in Belgium at all.
He appeared ready to be loaned out to West Brom before the deal expired on Deadline Night.
The Baggies have had a miserable season so far, falling into the championship relegation zone.
Alzate, in need of playing time, switched to Liège instead.
His performances kept getting better, regardless of his team’s results.
He put on a goal when Antwerp was defeated.
Then observers at the midweek game thought he was decent again, even though his side lost.
He’s not up to speed yet – but he’s on the right track.
The Colombia international told reporters in Mechelen after the midweek game: “I would say you saw glimpses. I’ll be there.
“Am I at 100% yet? Well, I try to give 100% in every game in terms of stakes.
“But in terms of full fitness and full confidence I would say I’m almost there.
“It’s been a while since I’ve played week after week so physically it’s a good test for me.
“But I’m sure I’ll make it.”
A lot has changed at home since Alzate moved to Belgium.
Graham Potter and his coaching staff have left, Roberto De Zerbi and his supporting cast are moving in.
And fellow midfielder Enock Mwepu had to retire.
Furthermore, De Zerbi has revealed he doesn’t expect Jakub Moder back until March as he recovers from a serious knee injury.
It remains to be seen if De Zerbi will add a new midfield signing in January.
He’s still barely used Billy Gilmour and may have ideas for a player or two in that area to sign.
But Alzate can be recalled if Albion sees fit.
The likelihood of that could increase if form and match fitness are maintained at high levels, especially in big weeks like this one.
Alzate said: “I haven’t played three games in a week for a while so it will be a good test for me.
“But I feel like I’m adapting well.
“I gain confidence from the players and the manager, that’s nice.
“Hopefully I can keep playing and help the team as much as I can.
“I want to help as much as possible up front and on the defensive.
“In the future, I want to connect with the forwards, use my creativity, but when I have to defend, I have to fight for the team as much as possible.”
Alzate said he has developed a close relationship with his midfield colleagues, adding: “It’s nice to play with these players.
“We understand each other, we are on the same wavelength.
“I’m sure you’ll see more of the connection game with us.”
Standard is fifth, six points ahead of Anderlecht and six behind fourth-placed Union St. Giloise.
Simon Adingra remains in fine form for USG and scored his fourth goal of the season in the 6-1 win in Oostende. This was followed by a 2-0 home win against Gent midweek and the three-game week will end in a big win tomorrow as they take on Club Brugge, with whom they are level on points.
In the Netherlands, Kacper Kozlowski opened his league campaign account by helping Vitesse Arnhem in a 3-0 win at Cambuur.
That was just a second win in ten games for Vitesse, who sits 15th in the 18-team league.
Kozlowski also scored in a midweek cup game as Vitesse lost to Kozakken Boys on penalties after a 2–2 draw.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/23066544.brightons-steven-alzate-impresses-loan-standard-liege/?ref=rss Brighton’s Steven Alzate impresses on loan at Standard Liège