Adam Lallana: How a change in role makes him and Liverpool more difficult to work out

Lallana seems to be operating in a more orthodox midfield role having been more advanced last season.

If you look at the transfer business undertaken by Jurgen Klopp in the summer, and seen how his side set up from his arrival in October – you could easily have thought Adam Lallana was a player that could struggle to get into the starting XI.

For much of last season he operated as part of the front three and while his work ethic and pressing was praised, there was criticism levelled at him for a lack of goals.

Sadio Mane arrived and it appeared he would have a fight on his hands to get into the side with Philippe Coutinho occupying another flank with a forward playing through the middle.

But it seems a role has been found for Lallana as Klopp has set up a with a 4-3-3 system as part of one of the midfield three. It was a role he played in the friendly win over Barcelona last weekend, as well as yesterday’s 4-3 win over Arsenal in their Premier League opener at the Emirates Stadium.

From an attacking point of view it’s interesting to see. Given Lallana has been getting seven or eight goals per season in all competitions, they are more acceptable numbers for a midfielder coming from a deeper role – while those operating in the front three will have double figures as the absolute minimum requirement.

What Lallana seems to have provided in both of these games is some real aggression in the middle of the park – probably not something you’d expected just to look at him. His pressing has been able to start counter-attacks with the pace of Mane and craft of Coutinho ahead of him to flourish.

He might get caught in possession in a high tempo game like against Arsenal – though plenty have – but he has this ability to find that extra half a yard to keep hold of the ball for his side, and his technique allows him to orchestrate some neat interchanges.

Then he can arrive late into the area on the end of opportunities. If there’s one thing to be said about Lallana in goalscoring positions, it’s that it’s probably best if he doesn’t think about the opportunity in front of him. He seems to do better when it requires instinct or his options are limited. His strike against Arsenal was a great example.

But he also seems pretty hard to pick up. Though a lot of the time he’s in a deeper role, he has licence to express himself – as was the case for Georginio Wijnaldum with Jordan Henderson seemingly the deeper of the trio.

Given that he could also go back into the front three if required, it probably makes him that more tricky to work out, and a little problematic for anyone facing Liverpool if his performances go up a level.

Source: Adam Lallana: How a change in role makes him and Liverpool more difficult to work out


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26 thoughts on “Adam Lallana: How a change in role makes him and Liverpool more difficult to work out”

  1. That second half performance was something from him and the rest of the team but I’m still not fully convinced about Lallana to be honest. He was atleast partially responsible for both the first and second goal and the first half display was a poor one overall. Good to see him score a vital goal in the opening fixture itself though.

    Him impact against Barca was splendid…against Arsenal though it was good and bad in comparison.

  2. This analysis fails because it ignores the transformation to his southcoast complexion, and now the fairer-skinned lally is now more suited to The team than last season.

    But seriously i still yearn for lally the captain who plundered goals for soton. That version

  3. My issue with this is that this only works in a 4-3-3 and that means that one of Coutinho, Mane, Firmino, and Sturridge aren’t on the pitch. Can’t see Lallana operating in a 2-man midfield.

    Maybe as a sub off the bench to change things up but certainly not as a preferred starter.

    I hope I’m not the only one who saw how bad Lallana was in the first half against Arsenal. Also while 7-8 goals is respectable from a central midfielder it certainly doesn’t follow that just because that’s what he could get as an attacking MF that he would also get that as a CM.

  4. Klopp noticed he’s important in the dressing rooms hierarchy, with Hendo and Milner as the core and he leads on the pitch. It’s not like he’s shoehorned into position, but he’s played to his strength and has delivered against Barca and Arsenal. About 40 games left to go Adam, the pitch is yours.

  5. Really pulling for Lallana to prove a lot of people wrong this year. Only thing that worries me is Lallana is one of the best in the team on initiating the press – I wonder if he can still do that with 3-4 players further up the field then him, or if he’ll have to settle for more strategic positioning and less outright work rate.

  6. Meanwhile, there’s some rumours about Coentrao heading to Liverpool.. That would be a great deal..

    1. Agree. Only problem is that he’s out injured till around October I hear. Could still be a good deal, but it would mean a bit more Moreno than some would like…

  7. I have to say, Klopp has really pulled a fast one on ALL of us. I, for one, didn’t see this coming AT ALL, but what a great move by the gaffer. That’s why I’m an accountant and Klopp is a WC manager. He knows his players, and knows where to play them to maximize their strengths while minimizing weaknesses. I always wanted to see Phil in this role, but maybe Lallana is a perfect fit?!
    I think we all agree that Lallana is a supremely skilled player with a cabinet of tricks and turns who runs and presses hard, and gives his shirt for the team. He is also lacking in end-product. Playing him deeper in MF brings his strengths of pressing, passing, and ball retention to the forefront. Him, Hendo, and Gini as the shuttlers in a MF 3 could be exciting to watch this year.
    In KLOPP we trust!

    1. Actually we have seen sometimes very shitty display from lallana which made most of us forget how good a player he once was … and hopefully he will be this season

  8. No matter how much hate and slating he gets from fans (some justified, some not), he is going no where. Klopp jst loves him and he is a typical Klopp player. With he being pulled back in the middle, I see future for him and with the way middle of the park runs and busts under Klopp, options and numbers are always required there. He gives flexibility to Klopp and I suspect there would be plenty of injuries in MF too.

    1. Lallana brings a lot to the table. The one thing he needs to improve asap is his end product. A player like him who works his socks off and creates chances, needs to score more goals. Yesterday was a start. Now build on that.

      1. Klopp played smart by pulling him back in midfield and thereby withdrawing him from scoring duties (and ironically,he scored post that). He will be used there this season I guess and to be honest, it looks a smart idea. Let’s see how it pans out.

    2. Once there was a boy named Ibe that looked like Klopp favorite also…. Klopp can turn nasty anytime it seems

  9. Lallana is klopp first love at Liverpool. There’s no doubt about it. He has technique, respectable pace and lungs of a horse. He will be at Liverpool for long. I guess he will do great as a CM. Me and quite a few here wanted to see him in this position. Hoping for a great season from him.

    1. Agree, he’s definitely a favorite of Klopp and I’ve been wanting to see him in this role myself for quite some time now. Think he’ll be excellent in it once he gets used to it more. Apart from training sessions that I admit i have no insight to this is just his second game in this role for us as far as I can remember where one being a friendly. I thought he was good yesterday and he will only get better in this role if Klopp keeps playing him in it!

        1. Don’t know man. Can hasn’t looked super dynamic and everything in any game since he came back. I think he’ll need a bit more time and since the team won, Burnley is up for the taking and Klopp believes in training and ironing out issues I think Tottenham will be the first game where he’ll start.

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