With all our attacking threat this upcoming season, along with the signing of Sadio Mané where does that leave Lallana in the starting lineup? When you look alone at his goal contributions which are 4 in 30 appearances last season, its quite underwhelming but a look more closely reveals a real player that’s actually as pivotal to the team as scoring the goals.
Here’s what leads me to believe that, for starters if you imagine a typical Jürgen Klopp player, it’s fast, hardworking, interceptions and determination to win to ball back. Its pretty much Lallana in a nut shell, although he often frustrates fans by not having that last touch in front of goal maybe we should look at him in a different context. In last season he made 49 chances in 30 games and a lot of that time we didn’t have the striking options we’ll have this year mostly down to injuries as I’m sure your all well aware of. Just how differently would he be viewed if half of those was assists? Although he’s got some serious competition this year with Coutinho, Firmino, Mané along with a host of youngsters that are pushing on in preseason, but when you think back to performances like the Man city game (4-1) and Chelsea (3-1) he’s was brilliant in a front three with Coutinho and Firmino at putting in a shift, chasing every loose ball and showing us the type of desire we expect from a Liverpool player. If they could keep the fitness up to perform like this behind a Sturridge, Origi or maybe Ings, we could tear teams apart.
The problem and it’s a nice problem for Klopp, is who gets dropped after signing Mané who after netting 25 goals in 75 games for Southampton and being the pacey, strong winger we’ve craved is surely going to start. Klopp’s openly admitted he’s been a long term admirer of Mané so it’s enviable someone’s spending more time on the bench. With most thinking its Lallana, I just wonder what klopps real plans are, we know he’s a big on training not signing, so maybe if he can get both men fighting for a place in the team it could actually bring the best Lallana that we’ve not seen yet? As he’s well known for improving players, I believe he can get him adding goals to his game but more importantly I think he could add bag loads of assists this year, because instead of the lack of strikers we had in front of him last season, this season we are fully equipped (no injuries please). My verdict is he’ll continue to progress under Klopp and we’ll see more purpose to his pressing. I think Lallana could potentially have a massive season, we know he’s got it in his his locker and maybe when the danger of losing his place arrives he’ll step up to the next level.
Think we can agree that they’ll be many a twist or turn during the season ahead and of course the dreaded odd injury. I think our man Lallana has a major role to play and might well shock a few, Only time will tell?
Ben Webb ( @benwebblfc )