What a difference a year makes. Who would have thought 12 months ago Liverpool fans would be pining for Adam Lallana to come back from injury.
The fact that fans can’t wait to see the 28 year old ex Southampton player back on the pitch shows how much Lallana has improved since Jürgen Klopp took over at Liverpool in October 2015.
Like captain Jordan Henderson, I had written Lallana off, after two seasons of what can only be described as mediocrity, I was hopeful Lallana would be following the likes of Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen and Jordan Ibe out the door at Anfield last summer.
When it was announced that Lallana’s ex teammate Sadio Mané was signing for Liverpool I wondered where Lallana would fit in to the Klopp’s new team.
Jürgen Klopp though had great plans for Lallana.
With Emre Can suffering an injury at the start of the season against Burton Albion in the League Cup, Lallana was pushed in to midfield trio alongside Jordan Henderson and the impressive Georginio Wijnaldum.
Moving Lallana in to midfield was a big call and a brave move by Klopp. If it worked out his reputation would be further enhanced, but if it didn’t work out, Klopp risked the rath of the Liverpool fans.
Klopp need not have worries because Lallana it seemed was reborn in midfield and his performances were nothing short of magicial.
Gone was the Lallana of old, the player who ran down blind avenues, misplaced passes and that Lallana was replaced by a confident Lallana who was beginning to show his true form.
Alongside Henderson, Lallana has run the Liverpool midfield in the games he has played this season. His ability to move forward and set up attacks was something Liverpool fans saw very little of last season.
His constant want to press other teams when Liverpool didn’t have the ball, allowed others around him to shine especially Wijnaldum. Knowing that Lallana and Henderson had the Liverpool attack sorted allowed Wijnaldum to get on and do the dirty work in midfield.
In his 13 appearances for Liverpool this season Lallana has scored three goals, created 13 chances and has amassed five assists. His pass accuracy is 86% with 65% of those passes being forward passes. He has won 49% of his duels and he averages one defensive action per game. Last season over 30 games Lallana won 48% of his duels.
If you compare Lallana’s performances to those of Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, Lallana has won more of his average duels, has scored more goals and has had more assists then Henderson.
Compared to Georginio Wijnaldum, Lallana has a higher percentage rate of forward passes, has created more chances, assisted more goals and scored more goals.
I thought about comparing Lallana to Paul Pogba the worlds most expensive player, and it seems that Lallana has more assists and goals so far this season, he has the same successful pass percentage as the Frenchman but Pogba has a higher percentage of forward passes, something you would expect from a player who plays higher up the pitch than Lallana.
There is also very little between the two players when it comes to average duels won, Lallana on 49% and Pogba on 52%.
After two uninspiring seasons at Liverpool, Lallana it seemed was destined for the Liverpool scrap heap, unliked by a large section of the Liverpool fan base, Lallana could do nothing right.
For example, Lallana could make 300 forward passes in a game but the one pass he misplaced would be the one fans would pick up on to complain about.
Lallana’s performances this season has attracted interest from French giants Paris St Germain and a host of other of Europes elite clubs. Klopp it seemed has transformed Lallana in to the player he always had the potential to be.
In the space of 12 months, Lallana has been transformed from a player who wouldn’t be missed in the Liverpool team to arguably one of the teams most valued players.
If Liverpool and Klopp are to push for the title this season, I think it’s important that Klopp keeps Lallana’s level of performances where they are at the minute.
Written by @TheMoanyOne