Jack Hallows discusses Adam Lallana’s meteoric rise to prominence in a Liverpool shirt.
In the 2015/16 campaign, Adam Lallana played 30 Premier League games for Liverpool – mostly as either a right sided forward in a 4-3-2-1 or as a right-sided attacking midfielder in Klopp’s 4-2-3-1 – scoring four times and assisting six goals. The season, before in 2014/15, he had a similar return, featuring 27 times which yielded five goals and three assists – again, predominantly from a right sided attacking midfield position. Not wonderful returns for a man so often fielded in the front three or in the three supporting a striker. This season, Lallana has appeared 14 times in the League for the Reds and has already registered six goals and six assists. A remarkable improvement.
Since the Arsenal match at the Emirates back in August, the Englishman has excelled in his new right-sided ‘floating 8′ role for the Reds. Jurgen Klopp has recently explained that Lallana came to him last season lamenting his lack of goals and the German revealed he just wasn’t in position enough coming from the right-hand side.
Now, however, the Englishman’s ability to get into the right place and finishing ability have both improved rapidly. Lallana’s new role also allows him to press opposition midfielders and centre-backs rather than trying to outpace full backs in wide areas while off the ball he is fast gaining a reputation as Liverpool’s ‘dog whistle’ meaning, when he starts to press, the rest of the team follows suit.
This is a huge testament to Lallana’s character and versatility with the Englishman having predominantly served as a right-sided attacker or ‘number 10′ throughout his career. However, his skill on the ball, dribbling ability and ability to be a part of fast passing moves have seen him excel in the tight midfield spaces while sitting in a deeper role has expanded his vision and led to a more creative streak.
In fact, Lallana has become so important to the way the Reds play and the balance of their midfield, that he is singled out by many fans as the Reds most important player. He may not be able to produce the magic of Coutinho, the consistent flow of goals of Origi or possess the pace of Sadio Mane but his trickery, understanding of the game and fitness levels all contribute hugely to this Liverpool system.
12 months ago fans wanted Lallana out of the club, now he’s one of the club’s most important players.