Adam Lallana has injected more energy and invention into the Liverpool side since his recent return from a knee injury. The former Southampton captain picked up the problem in pre-season, leaving the Reds short on ideas in their engine room in the opening weeks of the season. The 27-year-old capped a promising Liverpool introduction with his first Reds’s goal in a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Anfield earlier this month. Lallana showed quick feet to escape three West Brom defenders before playing a brisk one-two with Jordan Henderson and tucking a left-footed finish past Ben Foster. It rivalled Raheem Sterling’s strike at White Hart Lane for Liverpool’s goal of the season. Luis Suarez’s £75m move to Barcelona has left the Reds short on creative ideas, but Lallana can help Sterling share the burden up front. He brings a dash of unpredictability thanks to nimble movement, as well as guaranteeing an end product.
For a man who has received so much praise from his fellow professionals over the past 18 months, it is remarkable that Lallana has just three England caps to his name. The Liverpool playmaker has been one of the standout Englishmen in the Premier League in recent seasons, but has found himself behind the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the pecking order. The pair have since retired following a disappointing World Cup. It presents Lallana with a chance to cement a place in Roy Hodgson’s side as the England manager seeks to usher in a new exciting era. Gaining experience at international level will give Lallana more confidence at club level, thriving under the extra responsibility. At 27, Lallana has floated under the radar in comparison to the likes of Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson. But with a manager whose philosophy reflects his playing style, the former Saints captain can top his nine-goal haul last season and shine in the Premier League and Champions League as he continues to develop and mature as a player.
Rodgers has to keep one eye on the future with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard edging closer to retirement. The 34-year-old is irreplaceable after carrying his boyhood club on his shoulders over the best part of a decade. It will take more than one player to replace Gerrard, and Lallana can become an instrumental part of Rodgers’s English spine alongside Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Sterling. The £25m signing has the experience of being a leader and talisman of a club after helping Southampton climb from League One to the Premier League. England manager Hodgson has named unit leaders to support Three Lions captain Wayne Rooney, and Rodgers can use Lallana in a similar leadership role to support whoever Gerrard’s successor as Liverpool skipper will be. Joining a young English core, Lallana can help the Reds blossom as he improves his understanding with Henderson, Sterling and Sturridge.
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