Adam Lallana reflected on a “difficult 18 months” after being named Man of the Match in Liverpool’s 4-2 victory over Burnley on Sunday afternoon.
Lallana was a surprise addition to Jurgen Klopp‘s starting lineup at Anfield, with both Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri again restricted to the substitutes’ bench.
His last start came against West Ham on February, while it was only the midfielder’s fourth in the league all season, with injuries and competition for places keeping him out.
To his credit, Lallana came in to produce a strong performance in the middle of the park, with his persistence particularly key to setting up Sadio Mane‘s first goal to make it 2-1.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, the 30-year-old was clearly relieved to have made such a telling contribution, after a long struggle with fitness.
“It’s been a difficult 18 months, two years, for me with injuries, but hopefully that’s behind me now,” he said.
“I just want to keep working hard and hopefully contribute to what will be an exciting end to the season.
“Obviously it helps when you can be fit consistently, I’ve not had that over the last couple of years. It was a good game and I enjoyed being out there.”
It was a tough game for Liverpool, in unpredictable conditions, and this was magnified by Man City‘s 3-1 win over Watford the previous day meaning three points were essential.
Lallana discussed the title challenge, and stressed that the Reds are “just going to enjoy it,” with this victory providing a welcome boost after a 0-0 draw in the Merseyside derby.
“All we’ve got to do is concentrate on ourselves and win games,” he continued.
“Obviously City won yesterday, so it was our job today to put in a professional performance.
“Burnley didn’t make it easy, and we might not have made it easy for ourselves in the end, but Sadio just finished it off.
“I thought we showed great character after going one down, it’s never easy and sometimes the fans get apprehensive.
“It was blowing a big wind out there as well, the conditions were tough—but that was for both teams, so no excuses.
“But I thought we thoroughly deserved the win in the end.
“It will probably go down to the wire, it’s good for the neutral and we’re just going to enjoy it.”