While the opening gambit of first full season of the Jurgen Klopp era at Liverpool has so far been encouraging, if not lacking the consistency their new manager will crave, few could claim that Saturday’s victory over Leicester wasn’t eye-catching.
Some of the football his side produced to defeat the champions was scintillating. It’s too early to tell if they can deliver regularly enough to be a major force this term but when they are on song, a certain Adam Lallana deserves much of the credit.
The interesting thing about Lallana’s fine form is that he is one man who would not necessarily have been expected to thrive under Klopp.
Adam Lallana worked his socks off on Saturday… ?? pic.twitter.com/JMWPwLkDl7
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 12, 2016
Purchased with a portion of the Luis Suarez revenue, he is embarking on his third season on Merseyside. It’s not that the 28-year-old was struggling pre-Klopp – he was doing merely ok.
The German coach’s arrival and all the talk of high intensity football that surrounded it didn’t seem like the dawn of something which pointed to a key role for Lallana.
The England man lacks real pace so could never have been expected to retain his place in the front three under the incoming manager, who requires his most offensive players to be explosive and hound the opposition defence.
Not exactly being a midfield warrior eithe, meant fitting into Klopp’s model of hunting for possession also looked unlikely. He is however an extremely gifted footballer nonetheless and it seems his new mentor has found the perfect role for him.
The former Southampton star has been deployed deeper, behind the attacking line, as the third central midfielder and a man who provides a crucial link between the engine room and the weaponry up front.
There are few players in the league as tidy in possession and Lallana’s knack for effective use of the ball in tight areas is helping Liverpool in transition, enabling those ahead of him to form a dangerous unit.
His current level of performance however, is not solely down to the tactical planning of the manager. It seems the player himself has embraced the Klopp philosophy of hard work more than anyone else.
A shot that almost broke the net. ?
Relive Adam Lallana's strike from 8⃣ different angles. ? pic.twitter.com/htcX8XZGkM
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 13, 2016
He covered the highest distance of any player in a single match this season, with a tireless shift of 12.5km against Spurs and then proceeded to blitz it against Leicester, clocking up 13.1km.
His willingness to run has helped him form what appears to be a close bond with his manager and the way he lashed in the decisive third goal on Saturday was the sign of a man brimming with confidence.
Any victory for him and his team-mates at Stamford Bridge this weekend would send a clear message through the league.
A new contract too, may be in the offing, with the Independent reporting that Klopp is not satisfied with his unlikely star only being tied down until 2019.