Liverpool moved to the top of the table after a convincing 6-1 victory over Watford. The result never looked in doubt as the Reds were unplayable with their attacking quality coming to the fore. Their combination play in attack is breath-taking at times and they are emerging as real title contenders.
Although their defence remains questionable, they are out-scoring teams with ease and look dangerous every time they get into the opposition half. They have combined pace, skill and vision to create an incredible attack, while the relentless pressing means that they are recovering the ball in good positions. Jurgen Klopp has turned them from also-rans to serious challengers and he deserves a huge amount of credit for that.
One player that has developed significantly under the German is Adam Lallana. The midfielder was much maligned by some sections of the Liverpool fanbase after joining the club as he wasn’t contributing as much as he should in terms of goals and assists. He is tailor-made for the high-pressing system employed by Klopp and is one of the first names on the team-sheet as a result. At the moment, he is keeping Gini Wijnaldum out of the team and deserves to be.
In terms of work rate, he was excellent once again on Sunday as he never stopped running for his team. He has perfected the pressing that Klopp demands of each of his players and has been the biggest beneficiary of the German’s reign. During the match against Watford, he completed two tackles and one interception which shows how he is able to retrieve the ball. That is one of the main reasons why he is in the team ahead of Wijnaldum as the summer signing has yet to completely get to grips with the system being coached by Klopp.
Lallana has become a lot more reliable in possession and that showed by his pass success rate of 87% on Sunday. He completed four key passes, highlighting that he isn’t only finding his team-mates, but also playing dangerous passes that create opportunities for his side. The England international contributed two assists on Sunday as he was influential throughout. His assist for Emre Can’s goal was excellent as he found space on the wing before delivering a cross of the highest quality. He took the defence out of the equation, providing his midfield team-mate a simple chance to increase the side’s lead.
Although he didn’t get any shots on goal against Watford, Lallana stood out due to his overall work rate and passing. He now has three goals and five assists to his name for the season, which put him amongst the most productive midfielders in the league. The benefit to playing in central midfield is that there is less pressure on him to contribute in the final third, which has actually helped him improve his attacking contribution. It can be argued that any midfielder would score goals in this Liverpool team, but Lallana has been consistent and deserves the praise that is coming his way.
There is still a significant portion of the season to go and it is important for Liverpool not to get carried away by their recent form. However, the opportunity is there for them to challenge in the league this season. There is no clear favourite to lift the Premier League trophy, especially after the recent drop off from Manchester City. If Liverpool continue to score goals at their current rate, they will certainly be in the title picture. Lallana has been one of most consistent players for the Reds this season and will be crucial for the team as the season progresses.
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