What is Lallana’s role in Liverpool’s season?

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What role does the midfielder have in Liverpool's season

What role does Lallana have in this Liverpool side this year?

I defended Lallana a few times in his debut season. Lacking any kind of pre-season and always picking up injuries just as he seemed about to hit full stride, his underwhelming initial campaign for us often showed signs of promise. I figured that with a year at the club now under his belt, he might be able to kick on this year provided he stayed injury-free.

We’re only two games into the season, but so far we haven’t seen much indication that this will be the case. Starting games as the right-sided midfielder in a 4-2-3-1/4-1-4-1 formation, Lallana has often struggled to make any real impact going forward. When he gets the ball, he’s usually indecisive, twisting and turning while somehow still managing to stay in the same place, as if he believes that the next turn will reveal to him some magic new option that wasn’t available back in the previous two turns. He also fails to get very close to Benteke which therefore limits his influence on the game somewhat.

Now of course, it could just be that Lallana needs a few more games to hit top form like he did last year, but with Liverpool’s new recruits it’s hard to see how he’s going to get that time. Presumably Lallana is only starting still because new signing Roberto Firmino isn’t fully fit yet. Once he is, he’ll be going straight into the first team.

That then leaves Lallana to compete with Jordon Ibe for the other wide midfield/winger position, but despite Ibe’s similarly poor start to the campaign, poor Adam is still at a disadvantage. Ibe is seen as Sterling’s successor and arguably needs game time more than the former Southampton captain in order to help him achieve that goal. Plus, Rodgers will remember how unconvincing Sterling looked two years ago at the start of the season before suddenly setting the world alight that November. No doubt he’ll be hoping Ibe is capable of something similar.

Lallana has looked better when playing deeper as a centre midfielder so far this season, but realistically when will he ever get a starting spot there? It sounds like Henderson might miss the Arsenal game through injury, but long term what are his prospects? Henderson is guaranteed a starting spot there as the captain, while James Milner has been guaranteed a starting spot there by the manager as long as he continues to play well there. There could conceivably be a spot alongside them in a three-man midfield, but forcing either Henderson or Milner to play as a holding midfielder would only inhibit their attacking talents, and Lallana is not a defensive midfielder. Presumably either Can or Lucas will be taking up the spot behind them when needed.

Of course, Lallana was initially brought in to compete for the number 10 role with Coutinho (before the lack of a decent striker meant we had to play an extra midfielder up top) but really, can anyone really see Lallana taking the little magician’s spot in the starting XI now? Especially considering how key Coutinho is for us this season.

It would seem that once Firmino is fit, the only way Lallana is getting league starts for us if another player gets injured. Most of his appearances will likely come in the League Cup and Europa League with some of our youth players. And when he does get a game, his apparent inability to come on and immediately set the game alight will undoubtedly make it difficult for him to prove his worth for us.

That said, he could be an interesting option to use from the bench when teams are tired and are more susceptible to making errors. Lallana is not a bad player by any means; just arguably not better than other players currently at our disposal. Perhaps his role this season will be more centered on trying to change games from the bench. It’s probably not what he would like, but he could prove a useful asset to have all the same.

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Drummer, gamer and football fanatic. I love to write about Liverpool and spend most of my time thinking about the mighty Reds. That or Game of Thrones.

1 comment

  • Truth says:

    Lallana was never worth £25 million pounds and he has been garbage since he came too Anfield,but that tool of a manager keeps playing players who simply aren’t good enough.
    Rodgers should be run out of town,and he should take the dross he keeps buying…Sell Lucas yet keeps the terrible Allen,man is a disgrace.

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