Despite their January collapse, Liverpool find themselves still in the mix for a top 4 spot this season and most would agree that under Jurgen Klopp, they’ve had a fairly good campaign so far. Watching Liverpool over the last few seasons, I’ve noticed the growing importance of former Southampton attacker Adam Lallana. Although he really struggled when he made the switch from St. Mary’s to Anfield initially, Lallana has gradually picked up his game and is now moving towards the performance levels he reached when in his rich vein of form at the Saints.
I look at Lallana’s all round game nowadays and compare it to his maiden season at Liverpool and I see a huge amount of improvement. Lallana hasn’t just limited himself to club football either as he’s picked up his game on the international stage too, albeit in a pretty dire team. One game in particular I remember noticing Lallana was the brilliant win away at Germany where his work rate and creativity were excellent and penned the Germans into their own half.
If you think back to when he was at the peak of his performance in his Southampton days, you’ll remember an immensely talented footballer with great agility and one who is almost as comfortable on either foot. On the face of it, Lallana looked like a good signing from Liverpool, he’d shown that he could cut it in the Premier League with Southampton. However, it didn’t all go to plan and Lallana really struggled on arrival. It wasn’t that he’d lost his graceful style or finishing prowess but nothing seemed to come off for him, he wasn’t really able to make much of an impact. I think he noticed that and has since decided to add something else into his game and that is work rate. The Adam Lallana I watch nowadays is relentless in the pressure he puts on players and uses his footballing intelligence to make key interceptions too and it has worked a treat for him.
Here you can see how Lallana has progressed since making the switch up the Jurgen Klopp’s men:
The yellow column refers to Lallana’s stats whilst still at Southampton where he showed the form that earned him his big money move and although the stats are slightly biased as he played so many more minutes in that season, it is clear to see that he was much more productive back then. The furthest left column represents Lallana in his current campaign and you can really see the improvement compared to the previous two. Lallana has made himself important to the team with already 7 goals and 7 assists this term and has really placed a direct emphasis on his game by focusing on passing forward and getting the team moving. This matrix is limited to Lallana’s work on the ball but it’s also important to remember just how hard he works off it too. In Adam Lallana, I think Liverpool have one of the most improved footballers in the league.
When you think of Liverpool’s main men it’s easy to just go to Coutinho, Mane and Firmino but in my opinion Lallana is absolutely vital to that team too, especially now he’s rediscovered the form he enjoyed at Southampton. I’m not saying Lallana is Liverpool’s best player but I think he goes under the radar quite a lot and his attacking contribution as well as his work off the ball is extremely important to Liverpool and is often underappreciated.