Adam Lallana looks a completely different player since Jurgen Klopp has taken over at Anfield.
Following his £25 million move from Southampton in the summer of 2014, the midfielder has struggled to cement himself a consistent starting position, often floating in and out of the team.
When he did get a chance last season, he didn’t influence matches like you’d expect from a multi-million pound signing. Obviously, the price-tag isn’t Lallana’s fault and it may have put too much pressure on him, considering he was only playing in League One for Southampton in 2011.
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But, in truth, it was hard for anyone to impress last year as Liverpool struggled to a 6th placed finish.
Since Klopp has been appointed though, Lallana is looking like the player who, in 2014, was one of six players shortlisted for the PFA Player of the Year award and earned himself a place in PFA Team of the Year.
Joy to watch
There’s no doubt that when in form, Lallana is a joy to watch. Technically he’s world class with unbelievable ball-control and the silkiest Cruyff-turns football has ever seen.
In the three matches that Klopp has managed, Lallana has looked full of confidence and has been heavily involved in almost every Liverpool attack. He looks willing to try things in an attempt to unlock defences rather than being scared of losing the ball.
It’s obvious that he buys into Klopp’s philosophy as well. He may not be the quickest, or fittest, but he’s willing to work hard for the team, epitomised by the photograph of him falling into his manager’s arms after the Spurs match, looking exhausted.
Even Klopp, who had obviously watched Liverpool’s previous matches on DVD noticed the difference in his game by asking: “I am not sure how many games you saw like this from Adam Lallana? What do you think?”
“I know him from Southampton and he can do 20/30 percent more,” added Klopp.
Lallana’s former manager, and current Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, also called for Lallana to show his true ability under Klopp.
“Lallana is a great, unbelievable player, one of the best in England. Lallana can adapt his skill to different styles. For me he is one of the best players in England.”
With Christian Benteke, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings being side-lined recently, it can be difficult for creative midfielders like Lallana to shine. He thrives on making chances for the strikers and, no disrespect to young Divock Origi, if he had better quality ahead of him Lallana would look a very good player.
Maybe that’s why he doesn't get any recognition from most Liverpool fans. His attempts to create opportunities are often disrupted by the lack of real quality surrounding him. Attacking midfielders are judged by assists and goals and with Liverpool scoring only 11 goals in 12 matches this year, it’s always going to be hard for him. But we've definitely seen an improvement already in his game.
Hopefully Klopp’s arrival will be the catalyst for Lallana to prove he is worth the £25 million that the Merseyside club splashed on him.
His Liverpool career starts now.
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