Dave Davis reviews Adam Lallana’s 2016/17 season with the Englishman having arguably his best season in a red shirt.
When you look back at the 16/17 campaign and think of Adam Lallana, most fans will rightly state that this was his best season for the Reds. The former Southampton man made a real impact in the big games, playing in a number of positions. Jürgen Klopp is undoubtedly a huge fan of the midfielder and fitness permitting, you fancy he’ll be a go-to for the manager in 17/18.
The 29-year-old started the season in scintillating form with a goal and assist in the opening game against Arsenal. Lallana looked suited to the 4-3-3 formation that Klopp was looking to employ due to his sheer work-rate and ability to press. Having been a player that flattered to deceive under Rodgers, fans were starting to recognise the importance of the player as the early season form continued.
By the end of 2016, things couldn’t have looked any rosier for the attacking midfielder. Named England’s Player of the Year, being near the top of the league and a key player for your club side wasn’t bad going.
For a midfield player to have seven goals and as many assists by the halfway point of the season meant other sides were looking at how to combat the player. If the season had finished at the end of 2016, Lallana’s stock couldn’t have been any higher.
There is a tale of two halves to Lallana’s story though and one that a few have pointed too upon reflection.
Similar to Liverpool, the start of 2017 couldn’t really have been any worse as a title challenge faded away as did Lallana’s influence. It became clear that despite being a key player in the team, the likes of Mané and Coutinho were more readily missed and crucial to the club’s success.
The England international didn’t record a goal or assist in the first three months of the year as very little seemed to go right. Being shifted from midfield to part of the forward three didn’t really work for him, but that couldn’t be the sole excuse. February saw the pick-up that many were waiting for as wins over Spurs, Arsenal and Burnley lifted the mood. Lallana undoubtedly played well at certain times in this games and made an impact.
April saw a hamstring injury derail the 29-year-old’s month as he missed all five games in the league. Liverpool took 10 points from those games as Coutinho and Firmino proved the main men during one of the busiest months. Lallana would have been a great option to have at times, but the Reds more than coped without him.
Upon returning to fitness, he was thrust in against Watford and played 74 minutes. It was a clear testament to the player’s desire to make a real contribution and just how highly Klopp rated him.
Those who watch the Reds regularly will know that the ‘gegenpressing’ style which the manager likes to employ is often driven by the former Bournemouth youngster as he leads the press along with Roberto Firmino.
A goal against Middlesbrough on the last day ensured a great end to the campaign and a best season on record at Anfield both statistically and in general play. There’s no way it could be labelled a bad season, but by his high standards only one goal and zero assists in 2017 isn’t anything to write home about.
The summer break will be crucial for Lallana to recharge his batteries and get ready for an assault on Europe next season. With more matches than before and the likes of Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain potential arrivals, Lallana may find himself rotated at times next season.
However, expect a player labelled as ‘special’ by Luis Garcia recently and one of Klopp’s favourites to be involved in those big contests.
Let’s hope we see a first-half of the season Adam Lallana again.