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Graham Potter savouring Brighton’s test against “one of the teams of modern times”

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Brighton boss Graham Potter admits Adam Lallana has made a greater contribution off the pitch than on it since arriving from Liverpool.

Former England midfielder Lallana returns to Anfield to face his old club on Wednesday evening having been restricted to just 10 Premier League starts for the Seagulls.

The 32-year-old’s stuttering start with Brighton has recently been hindered by a groin issue and illness but Potter remains satisfied with the overall impact of his influential summer acquisition.

“We’ve been happy with Adam. He’s been adapting to us, to the move down here, to play more of a regular role than he played at Liverpool recently,” said Potter.

“He’s been great off the pitch, great on the pitch.

“We would like to have him a bit more but we knew it was going to be that type of period where we both have to adapt to each other. It’s more off the pitch that he has brought a real quality.

“He’s good around the young players, helping them a lot and, at the same time, when he’s on the pitch for us, he’s influential for us.”

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2020: Brighton & Hove Albion's substitute Adam Lallana on the bench during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Lallana struggled for game time during his final three seasons on Merseyside, which included Champions League glory and a Premier League title.

He limped off just eight minutes after coming on as a substitute during a 1-1 draw with Jurgen Klopp’s champions at the Amex Stadium in late November and has made sporadic appearances since then, including a late cameo to help secure Sunday’s much-needed 1-0 success over Tottenham.

Potter retains hopeful the player will eventually be available for selection week in, week out.

“There is no reason why that shouldn’t happen,” said the head coach.

“But we just have to take it step by step and how quickly that is – it doesn’t necessarily matter, the most important thing is we’ve got Adam around.

“Sometimes we use him at the start of the game, sometimes we use him at the back of the game, depending on where he’s at, and we know that’s the situation.

“But he’s ready to help us all the time and if he’s not helping us on the pitch, he’s helping us off the pitch, so it’s a really good situation.”

Buoyed by a first home league victory of the season, Brighton must swiftly refocus after superbly seeing off Jose Mourinho’s Spurs.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) and team-mates celebrate their first goal during the Premier League match at the London Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday January 31, 2021. Clive Rose/PA Wire/PA Images

The overdue success moved the 17th-placed Seagulls seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Potter is well aware of the imminent challenge facing his side, describing Liverpool as a “machine” and “one of the teams of modern times”.

Asked about their threats, he replied: “They’ve got lots. Clearly the front three are very dangerous, they’re sensational.

“The midfield three are all incredibly talented, the full-backs give them width and dynamic play from wide areas.

“It’s a machine, Liverpool is a machine, they’re incredibly well coached.

“Jurgen has done an incredible job there, they’ve got a really good team spirit, they fight for each other, they’re the champions and not so long back they were the champions of Europe.

“They’re one of the teams of modern times. It’s a fantastic test for us.”

Joel Veltman and Alexis Mac Allister will have muscle problems assessed ahead of the game, while Tariq Lamptey, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Danny Welbeck remain sidelined.

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