Tireless Adam Lallana serves as a reference point for Liverpool’s talented kids in Merseyside derby win – The Independent, Independent

Tireless Adam Lallana serves as a reference point for Liverpool’s talented kids in Merseyside derby win – The Independent, Independent


In the aftermath of anotherMerseyside derbyvictory at Anfield, so routine they have started to feel ritualistic,Jurgen Kloppsped over toAdam Lallanaand doffed his cap to the midfielder, before engulfing him in two giants hugs.


Curtis Jones was Liverpool’s matchwinner in the FA Cup third-round tie against Evertoncourtesy of his chef’s kiss of a curler from the edge of the box, But it was the – year-old who underpinned their triumph.


In the advent of James Milner’s injury-enforced substitution inside minutes on Sunday, Lallana assumed the armband but he has never needed a piece of material to exhibit the qualities of a captain.



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Jordan Henderson has persistently credited him as a sounding board, while Klopp labeled the England international “a natural leader who is very important within our team and the dressing room”, so his commanding display in challenging circumstances was no surprise.


Lallana was Liverpool’s lighthouse againstEverton, superbly guiding a young side that featured seven players aged 29 and under in the (following Milner’s withdrawal.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



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From encouraging right-back Neco Williams to deliver his impressive crosses quicker and with more regularity to instructing the ball-boys to pay attention to the flow of the game and alter their returns accordingly, his fingerprints were everywhere.


“Adam Lallana – what a game, unbelievable,” Klopp said of his oldest outfield player, whose heatmap belied his age.


When he was spinning away from Gylfi Sigurdsson with his supreme press-resistance ability or displaying a godly touch to effortlessly pick a high ball out the sky, Liverpool’s No 20 was making the most tackles for his side as well as the most possession gains.


Lallana, strong in the duel, also contributed two shots, two clearances and an interception while ranking second for successful passes and third for touches.


It was a complete performance, a showcase of his tenacity, technical brilliance, tactical awareness and intelligence, but the element that will please the player the most is how robust he looked.


Lallana stated post-match he felt like he could “keep going” and Klopp has already noted his “sensational shape” with his “body super fit and mind in a perfect place.”


He has deserved this break, this period of being in peak condition after a debilitating two years during which injuries cruelly and constantly prevented him from contributing on the pitch.


Klopp’s early reconstruction of Liverpool, however, was symbolized by Lallana and like every manager that has worked with the former Southampton captain – Mauricio Pochettino and Gareth Southgate to name just two – the German’s appreciation of him oodles more than the external audience .


To that end, thePremier Leagueleaders have been considering exercising a one-year option in his contract, which is up this summer.


However, the club are also aware that a fit Lallana doesn’t deserve to be on the fringes if he has an opportunity for regular minutes and a greater role elsewhere.


There have been enquires from a batch of English clubs as well as La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, but the playmaker – now operating in a deeper capacity – hasn’t considered his future yet as he is committed to helping Liverpool meet and exceed their expectations for the season.


It is a tale of remarkable resilience though that Lallana has dusted off so many setbacks, punishing both physically and mentally, to work himself back into a position of deciding his own fate.


He wasn’t just a reference point for Liverpool’s gifted starlets on Sunday, but has been throughout his career in a story lined with relegation, administration, unpaid wages and umpteen obstacles.


But Lallana’s overriding narrative is of tirelessly hurdling it all to be a success in a sport he used to beg and have to pay £ 2 to play as a six-year-old.


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