Adam Lallana has been in poor form of late and Dave Davis writes that he needs to be restored to a midfield role to flourish as he did several weeks ago.
Make no mistake about it, Liverpool got away with it on Saturday. For all the disappointment that reigned after an appalling display and result against Swansea, it turned out better than we first feared. United, City and Spurs all dropped points and regardless of Chelsea and Arsenal’s results, it’s the best we could have hoped for. The title looks to be out of reach, but there’s a real chance of a Wembley visit for the Reds and the top four is still on. One thing has to change and quickly.
The defence will be helped massively by the return of Jöel Matip to the lineup. The 24-year-old is our best centre-half and is yet to start in a game for Liverpool that ends in defeat. Klavan hasn’t deserved the hammering he’s taken recently, but a £5 million back-up centre-half is what the Estonian is and it has started to show. It’s not that area of the field that’s causing the most concern, however.
Adam Lallana has been in sensational form this season and already has seven goals and seven assists to his name. However, with Sadio Mane’s absence and a positional change, the 29-year-old hasn’t managed a goal or an assist in his last five games for Liverpool. Lallana has found himself on the left and right of a front three at times and it’s just not really suited him. Simply put, Lallana needs to play in the midfield three.
Saturday’s midfield of Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum played exactly as many expected. Hard-working and plenty of energy, but the ball often went sideways as they lacked the guile and flair to break Swansea down. Wijnaldum, to be fair, provided the assist for Firmino’s second, but that was their only real contribution of note. Can and Henderson gave the ball away time after time, yet in the skipper’s defence, he appears to be struggling with his heel injury. Can has been off the pace for a while now, despite his potential.
As soon as Lallana dropped deeper through the introduction of Sturridge, Liverpool looked more dangerous and creative. The bar was struck and there was, for a very short period, some fluidity to our attacking play. If only that change could have taken place whilst Coutinho was still on the pitch, it could have been so different.
Firmino has proven he’s got to play as the number nine and Coutinho is nailed on for the left side of the front three. Possibly Origi for his pace or even Ojo coming in might be an option to replicate Mane’s contribution as closely as possible. Lallana has to play in the middle three, though, if we’re to get back on track.