Adam Lallana will still be key despite Sadio Mane's arrival

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The £34 million that Liverpool have spent on Sadio Mane is a lot of money; the £38.5 million fee reported by The Telegraph is even higher, and rarely does a big-money signing arrive and not go straight into the first eleven, although Christian Benteke proves that is not always the case.

With Liverpool already having a number of options in forward areas, the question is who will drop out? Assuming that Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge are certainties to start, the answer is probably Adam Lallana.

But this does not mean that he will cease to be important to Liverpool. Even if Lallana is forced to start on the bench more regularly than previous seasons, he is not a bad player to have in reserve. If one of the key starters was to get injured – and given that Sturridge is one of them that is highly likely – then Lallana would be in pole position to start in their place.


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Lallana is well-liked and admired by Klopp and his coaching staff, and was a key part of the Reds' successes towards the end of last year, before going on to be one of England’s better players during this summer’s European Championships.

The high energy pressing style that Klopp employs is a strength of Lallana’s, and it is highly unlikely the coach would want to lose that having worked so hard with him to improve last season. Lallana is one of the players most suited to German's style that Liverpool cuurently have.

Then Liverpool must consider the period when Mane is away with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations at the start of 2017.

During one of the key points of the season, Mane is missing, with Lallana his likely deputy. The games he will miss include Manchester United, Chelsea, Swansea and Hull. It is a busy time of the year, with the two-legged semi-final of the League Cup falling in that period, as well as the fourth round of the FA Cup, two competitions Liverpool could still feasibly be in.

Mane’s goal record of 25 in 75 for Southampton and the pace that he adds to the team makes him a valuable addition to the squad alongside - rather than instead of - Adam Lallana. If Liverpool are to be successful next season, both will have to contribute.

There is no guarantee that the Senegalese international will settle immediately, with vastly increased expectations at his new club. Lallana will be there along with other players like Coutinho, Firmino and James Milner to share the burden.

The suggestion that it is a foregone conclusion that Lallana will suffer at the hands of the new arrival is therefore too simplistic and wrong.

Lallana has a lot to offer, whether that is off the bench, first choice in the starting eleven or deputising for an injured player normally in the team.

He might be a divisive player amongst supporters, but writing him off before the season has even begun, especially following his most impressive campaign last year, would be far too hasty: he has all the attributes needed to continue to be important to Liverpool, albeit perhaps in a slightly different role.

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Steven Gerrard
Premier League
Adam Lallana

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