Adam Lallana is set for the toughest season of any Liverpool player. What can he do to make it a successful one?
It’s the obvious one, so it’s the one to start with. Lallana has only played 31 games over the last two seasons – four fewer than he managed in 16/17 alone.
Regardless of anything, whether he plays phenomenally well or not, he’s got to stay fit. That’s not to say it’s his fault, of course – it’s a matter of crossing his fingers and hoping.
Showing his versatility
The biggest issue Lallana faces next season, in terms of the squad, is the number of players in his position. Lallana was the key offensive midfielder in the 16/17 season. Since then, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, and Xherdan Shaqiri have all arrived. Jurgen Klopp also began to use Roberto Firmino in the role last campaign.
Lallana simply must show that he can play wherever he’s needed next year. Centre-midfield, be it withdrawn or pushed on, and out on the wing, be it left or right.
We know he’s capable of it but now he needs to show it more than ever. With so many players around, he can’t limit his chances by needing a specific role.
Leading the press
The ultimate trait that will get you games in Klopp’s midfield is pressing. And once again looking back to 16/17, Lallana was the best at it – as he has been since his £25m move from Southampton. He led the press, working incredibly hard and intelligently to get the ball back.
It certainly caught Klopp’s eye and made Lallana one of Liverpool’s most important players. England, too, saw the benefit as Lallana became their Player of the Year for 2016.
If Lallana can show once again that no one matches him there, he may jump to the front of Klopp’s queue.
What are his chances of a successful season?
Slim, you’d have to say. There are huge doubts over his ability to stay fit. There’s also just so much competition in the middle of the pitch.
But he’s still around at Anfield and that says something. The qualities and potential to add to the team are still seen, suggesting he does have a chance.
Again, the important thing is he stays fit. Do that, and Lallana will have opportunities to take next season.