Aaron Curry analyses whether Adam Lallana is Liverpool’s most important midfielder or not.
In the dying embers of last season, Adam Lallana began to show signs of what he could truly offer to the club. Transitioning into a standard central midfielder, rather than that of an attacking one, he has flourished within his new role.
Despite recently suffering injury on international duty – being side-lined for four weeks – there is no doubt he will return a more determined player.
The Englishman has been somewhat of a revelation in midfield, not only for Liverpool but England as well. Jürgen Klopp regards him as the player with the highest work rate in the squad, thus explaining why he had moved into a central position. His ability to trigger the press and cover excessive amounts of grass per game, leaves very little to be desired.
Being renowned for his relentless levels of stamina, it’s only fitting that there are statistics that serve to highlight just how emphatic this aspect of his game is. Starting against both Manchester City and Sunderland (less than 72 hours apart) he clocked 13.22km and 12.88km respectively. What makes this even more impressive, is that both games were first and second in the ‘distance covered’ table for that week.
Not only does he manage to metaphorically run a marathon during a match, but he can also contribute towards the business-end of the pitch. While goals and assists may not be crucial to every midfielders game, Lallana’s game certainly is. Accumulating a total of fourteen goals and assists, seven-a-piece, in the Premier League, he is showing his worth in both aspects of his game.
He has also helped England to several wins this season, the most prolific being the 1-0 away win over Slovakia. Lallana broke the dead lock five minutes into added time; sparing the blushes of soon-to-be-sacked manager, Sam Add to dictionary. These were the kinds of moments Liverpool fans knew he was capable of.
Of course, he did not set the world alight when he first joined from Southampton for £25 million, but that fee is being heavily recouped now.
After he was told he would be facing approximately four weeks on the treatment table, the fans’ general reaction epitomised just how crucial he has become to our starting eleven. The uproar directly aimed towards the current England manager, Gareth Southgate, suggests no fan was left happy that Lallana was injured.
A recent debate amongst Liverpool fans on Twitter was that there is a real concern for squad depth, and this does not help the case either.
The Englishman is also a key-figure in Jürgen Klopp’s plans for both the near and distant future. Being tied down to a new-long term deal, that prolongs his stay at Anfield, blatantly suggests he sees Lallana as a future first team player.
Adam Lallana has had a rapid rise from a player that struggled to make the team, to one which now struggles to be left out of the team. There are obvious flaws to his game, such as carrying the ball for much longer than he needs to, but on the whole he has become a well-rounded individual.
Most fans find it hard to pinpoint exactly what the catalyst was for his upturn in form, but as a fan I can only hope he continues to train, work and improve on his game. He has arguably been Liverpool’s, and to some extent England’s most crucial player during this campaign.