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Adam Lallana: Improving under Klopp but still with work to do

Adam Lallana‘s performances under Jurgen Klopp have been certainly improved, but he remains a player whose place will be under threat once key players return.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 21, 2015: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester City with team-mate Adam Lallana during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday’s enjoyable 4-1 victory at Man City was one of Liverpool’s great Premier League results and has injected everyone associated with the club with a further sense of optimism.

The likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Martin Skrtel deservedly received much praise for the impact they had on the game, but the performance of Lallana was also a positive.

The 27-year-old is one of those divisive Liverpool players who comes along now and again and it appears difficult for some to laud his current form.

Saturday was arguably his finest performance yet in a Reds shirt.

vs. City

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Friday, July 24, 2015: Liverpool's Adam Lallana in action against a Malaysia XI during a friendly match at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on day twelve of the club's preseason tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The way in which Liverpool dismantled City at the Etihad really was a pleasure to watch, with the Klopp effect becoming more evident by the game. Lallana played a big part in that.

Utilised on the right of a front-three alongside Coutinho and Firmino, the England regular helped wreaked havoc against the hapless centre-back pairing of Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis.

His pressing was outstanding, in the first-half in particular, and there was an inventiveness about his creativity on the ball and movement off it.

Had Firmino converted a glorious second-half chance, Lallana’s wonderful dummy in the lead-up to it would have been one of the stand out moments of the game.

This was the Lallana we saw at Southampton; the one who was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award and cost Liverpool £25 million.

The England international is an accomplished footballer when it comes to the technical side of things. He just needs to add more substance to his game.


LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2015: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and Adam Lallana after the goal-less draw with Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Kloppaganda)

There is a definite irony in the fact that Lallana has excelled ever since Brendan Rodgers was sacked last month.

The former Liverpool manager was a huge fan of the Englishman, and his technical expertise and ability to press seemed tailor-made to thrive under the Ulsterman’s style of play.

It simply didn’t work out, however, and Lallana’s game has now gone up a noticeable notch ever since Klopp took charge.

The German has instilled more confidence in him, and played him in his best position, and he looks a different player to the one who flattered to deceive under Rodgers.

We never saw him performing with such freedom and effectiveness during the Northern Irishman’s tenure.

No need to go overboard

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 21, 2015: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal against Manchester City with team-mate Adam Lallana during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite clear improvements in recent weeks, it is important to stress that Lallana is still far from perfect. He divides opinion for a reason.

His ability to hold onto the ball for too long can be extremely frustrating, and it risks affecting the fluency of Liverpool’s game under Klopp.

Lallana was vastly improved in that respect on Saturday, but there was still the odd occasion when his decision-making in key areas was just not good enough.

Twice he was needlessly caught offside in very dangerous positions, and he missed a few glorious chances to play in teammates.

Lallana’s long-term place in the Liverpool side remains very uncertain.

With Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge both set to return from injury in the coming weeks, the 27-year-old appears to be one of those most at risk of making way.

Coutinho and Firmino are developing a partnership that potentially looks sensational, and there is surely no way Klopp would select Lallana ahead of either of his brilliant Brazilians.

Bringing in Henderson for James Milner and Sturridge for Lallana seems to be the most logical move, with Lallana having to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench in big games.


LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 22, 2015: Liverpool's Adam Lallana in action against Rubin Kazan's Solomon Kverkvelia during the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Whatever your stance on Lallana – some love him, some feel he’s average and others loathe him – it is impossible to deny that he has looked a class act in recent weeks.

His performance against City on Saturday was his best since joining Liverpool in the summer of 2014, and Klopp’s decision to play him in his best role is, unsurprisingly, paying off.

For all his noticeable improvements, the silky attacking midfielder still has a way to go before he cements a place as a regular.

At 27, those aforementioned deficiencies to his game should have been ironed out by now, and the worry is that he will never quite reach that top level required to be a success at Liverpool.

The current signs are promising overall, though, and if he keeps performing like he did on Saturday, it will give Klopp a potential selection headache.

The jury is still out, but perhaps Lallana is starting to justify that hefty fee Liverpool spent on him 16 months ago.

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