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Once Klopp’s ‘Leader’, Does This England International Still Have A Place As Liverpool Chase Titles?

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana’s latest comments about seeing out the final year of his contract at Liverpool, have not gone down too well with some fans.

Supporters have become frustrated at the England international’s inability to stay fit over the past couple of years with many believing that the team no longer needs him.

When manager Jurgen Klopp first arrived three and a half years ago, Lallana was absolutely vital to how the German wanted to play.

After an underwhelming first campaign at the club under Brendan Rodgers, he began to excel under the new manager’s guidance following his arrival in October 2015.

The midfielder was one of the first names on the team sheet because of his work rate and his ability to press high up the pitch. Klopp called him the “leader” for his counter-pressing.

Lallana was the player who would trigger the rest of the team to press their opponents and win the ball back. In the 2015/16 season, he made 49 appearances, scoring seven goals and providing five assists, helping the Reds to the EFL Cup and Europa League finals.

He continued in that rich vein of form in the following campaign, playing 31 games, scoring eight and making seven assists. However, there were signs that his body was beginning to fail him.

A hamstring injury kept him out for five games in April 2017, and he broke down with similar problems throughout the 2017/18 campaign. With just 16 appearances and only three starts in all competitions, Klopp had to start relying on others in midfield.

In last year’s Champions League final, he came on for Mo Salah but it was clear he was not a player who could make an impact on the game, following a season of fitness problems

With groin issues and more hamstring problems plaguing him once again last season, it appears that Lallana’s time as an integral first-team player at Anfield have come and gone.

After accruing 97 points in the league and winning the Champions League with a more conservative style of play, the need for someone of Lallana’s qualities is not as vital for Klopp as it once was.

There was a brief glimpse of the old Lallana when he put in a superb display in the 4-2 win over Burnley in March. Klopp praised the midfielder as being the game-changer in the match saying:

“I think he had that best time with me when he played in that position [just off the striker] but he has had a lot of injuries.”

“He gives us creativity, he gives you the surprising passes, chipping balls through and we know he can do a lot more than he did today but for a first game that was quite impressive.”

Unfortunately for the 31-year-old, he continued to breakdown and was unable to help during the Premier League run-in. Many fans feel he should now be sold following two years of injury hell, but Lallana still seems to have Klopp’s faith:

“I know my ability and I know what I can give. And the gaffer and his staff and the recruitment guys have all made it clear they know I have a big part to play with what’s to come next, so I’m buzzing with that.”

Perhaps the Liverpool manager is hoping for the midfielder to revive his fortunes and rid himself of his injury curse. It seems apparent, though, that the team has left him behind as they march towards challenging for honours on all fronts.