By Connor Varnish – @cvarn4
If the goalkeeper, one of the mainstay defenders, or any of the front three have to miss time for any reason I think it’s fair to say that Liverpool would find themselves in something of a mini crisis.
But, when it comes to the midfield, Jurgen Klopp has so many bodies at his disposal that he could chop and change but still have quality in the middle of the park – an injury in this department wouldn’t be so catastrophic.
It’s interesting that Liverpool have the most depth in midfield, yet still struggle to find that trio that yields the ideal combination this squad needs to balance out a truly complete midfield.
To the handicap of Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool supporters, the Reds’ two most creative midfielders in Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been sidelined through niggling injuries disrupting any consistency or, in Ox’s case, the vast majority of the season through a ruptured cruciate ligament.
The 2019/20 season will hopefully see these two back at their best and in contention to cement a role in the dynamic slot of the midfield.
Adam’s swan song?
With the pair set to vie for the attack-minded midfield spot for the forseeable future, it seems that 31-year-old Adam Lallana has found himself on the outside looking in.
Lallana was arguably Liverpool’s best player in the 2016 season, and was practically the first name on Jurgen Klopp’s team sheet. He showcased just what Klopp wants from his attacking midfielder.
Despite his lack of output in terms of goals and assists, most would agree that Lallana’s relentless press and technical ability on the ball created a lot of chances for the Liverpool attack – hence why he was, and probably still is, one of Jurgen’s favourites.
Age and injury, however, have caught up to the former Southampton man, and it appears that his Liverpool career is all but over following this season. The Reds look likely to cash in on the man who only has a year left on his contract and will more than likely have a number of suitors after the Englishmen’s signature when the summer transfer window begins in full flow.
Perhaps the most ideal destination for Lallana would be a return to his boyhood club.. Former boss Mauricio Pochettino even came out recently and urged the former Southampton captain to return to the south coast in hopes to reignite his career.
Lallana certainly has put a lot of miles into his legs and, having recorded just six appearances for the Reds this past season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the England international head back to St Mary’s and play for two or three more seasons at a relatively high level, should his body hold up.
A loyal servant
Once a staple of Liverpool’s midfield, he has been pushed to the fringes of the squad. That being said, both the boss and rest of the Liverpool squad will miss his professionalism and talent should he leave in the summer.
There’s no doubt that Klopp loves the guy and, to be honest, having Adam Lallana as a third or fourth choice option in the centre of the park is not too bad all things considered.
Lallana’s fellow Liverpool teammates will also certainly miss him, with the English contingent in Milner and Hendo especially being sad to see one of their mates go. Lallana clearly posseses the skill to play at Anfield, but his body just won’t hold up and allow him to fly around the pitch anymore, or at least not in the way that a Jurgen Klopp team requires.
It’s tough to replace players like the Englishman – guys who keep themselves ready to be called upon, but ultimately don’t get the first team minutes they need fulfil their careers.
Regardless of social media trolls and pundits alike abusing his current quality, the man deserves a move to reignite his career and show that he can still be useful in an attacking setup.
Adam Lallana’s Liverpool career has had its highs and lows, but now it seems time for him to start a new chapter and hopefully get back to playing week in, week out.
Maybe it will be back at Southampton, or perhaps his future lies elsewhere. Either way, we will all wish him nothing but the best.