In all the trials and tribulations that pre-season brings, perhaps the biggest one of Liverpool’s runup to the new season has been the role of Adam Lallana.
The former-Southampton man looked set for another testing summer, with continued injury troubles acting as a bridge in his attempts to remain a core ingredient within Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
A new role for Adam Lallana?
In recent years, while impressing on occasion with a natural ability to carve open chances, picking up possession in pockets of space, injuries have plighted him. Unable to build up ahead of steam, he’s subsequently been left out in the cold, culminating in a precarious future for the No.20.
However, he has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance, having been offered a lifeline of sorts during pre-season. Deployed in a deeper role, he has surprised fans as a makeweight in the No.6 role.
A standout player in the first-half of Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Lyon, the Englishman looked assured in possession, benefitting from more time on the ball. As such, Liverpool appeared to have a more penetrating presence in the middle of the park.
Given the likelihood that Klopp’s side will face a multitude of low-block defences next season, a more creative force from deep alongside the pre-existing attackers could offer more flexibility for the games ahead.
Speaking to the club’s official website about his new position, the midfielder admitted he has a lot to learn about the requirements but is relishing the challenge ahead.
“It’s nice,”said Lallana. “I found myself playing there a few times this pre-season and I’m happy to play anywhere. I’ve enjoyed it, obviously getting on the ball.”
“There’s not been any formal chat but I’m happy playing there. I see a lot of the ball and I’m the type of player that wants to be on the ball. I feel I can get us moving, get us out of tight situations and bring a different aspect.”
Maintaining fitness the key to Lallana’s future
Although there has been promising signs during pre-season over the role that Lallana could play for the campaign ahead, if the past is any indication, everything will come down to fitness.
Liverpool’s plethora of midfield options mean it is a tall order for him to break into Klopp’s team on a regular basis as is, and the added experience and glistening performances of both Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho in the deeper role means Lallana will have a real fight on his hands if he wants to make a success of it.
“There are still aspects of the game I need to improve on and I’m sure I’ll learn the more I play here. I’m delighted to get some more minutes and build my fitness.”
“As long as I can stay fit – and I’ve been working hard on my fitness – then I think I can bring quality to this Liverpool team.”
It remains to be seen whether Lallana will make an impact in the 2019/20 season given the large degree of uncertainty over his fitness and competition for places, but pre-season has at least offered him a lifeline.