There are very few players who have improved at Liverpool since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival than Adam Lallana. Before the effervescent German’s appointment, the £25 million signing had spent the previous season floating around a little bit like a scarf in the middle of summer. He was scoring well on style points, but in reality, was a bit of an unnecessary addition.
Lallana essentially went nowhere, but stylishly.
Klopp’s arrival have transformed the player though. No longer is he all about fancy touches and extravagant flicks. Lallana is a full on, vital member of Liverpool’s counter pressing machine, adding crucial energy and commitment in midfield that drags the Reds high up the pitch.
This recent resurgence has even brought him strong international recognition. Lallana started every game for England at the Euros until the shock defeat to Iceland, where the Three Lions really missed his energy, and he shone in the tight 1-0 win over Slovakia last night, scoring the winning goal.
However, that goal was Lallana’s first for his country on his 27th outing. No matter how much he has improved his all-round game and usefulness to his club and country by working hard off the ball, when he gets in positions to score, the former Southampton captain is too often found wanting. This must improve this campaign.
In 2014-15 for Liverpool, Lallana bagged five goals in 27 league appearances. Last year this total dropped to four in 30. He managed nine in his last year with Southampton, and this is the kind of level he needs to be aspiring to achieve at Anfield.
The signs are good that the Englishman may be returning to that sort of level, though. A brilliant finish against Arsenal opened his account on the opening day of the season, and he was involved in some very good play high up the pitch in Liverpool’s recent draw with Spurs.
Furthermore, for England on Sunday night, Lallana was probably the most positive attacking force in the side, at least until Dele Alli came on anyway, and could have scored a hat-trick in Trvana. His shot that hit the post from the edge of the area was particularly unfortunate.
The 28-year-old is very much a confidence player, and Klopp has instilled a great amount of self-belief in him over the last year. The deeper role he has taken up in the German’s 4-3-3 formation this season may limit the amount of goals he can score over the course of a season, but it currently appears to have had the contrary affect on Lallana’s form, and he seems to be flourishing from arriving late in the penalty area to take chances.
His impact will only be increased further when Emre Can returns from injury and Lallana is given more license to attack from midfield. Currently, Jordan Henderson is occupying the deep role in Liverpool’s midfield, but with the right man next to him, he could put his good form in to even better use going forward.
Overall, Adam Lallana clearly still has a lot to work on to become a real goalscoring midfielder. He still needs to work on his finishing and needs to get into goalscoring opportunities more frequently. Nevertheless, so far this season, he has shown an increase in confidence and work ethic that is already yielding results in front of goal. Time will tell if he can be the kind of player to score ten goals in a season, but the new, improved, dynamic Lallana is a real asset going forward for both Liverpool and England. He should be treated as such.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Ai Kagou