As the club’s pursuit of Lyon forward Nabil Fekir looks set to become the ‘saga’ of this transfer window there is a question about ‘what happens next for Adam Lallana’?
The 30-year-old will be going into his fifth season on Merseyside but this close season represents the first time there is a threat to his long-term future after an injury-plagued 2017/18.
Lallana ended the season as the club’s first substitute in the Champions League final against Real Madrid, coming on for the injured Mo Salah and notching up 60 minutes in European Football’s biggest game. Liverpool to win the Champions League next year is with 21/2 RedsBet.
It was a personal highlight in a stop-start season for the former-Southampton player, after suffering a number of injuries that limited the creative midfielder to just 385 minutes overall in the campaign.
Despite appearing in a Champions League final it will still be a season Lallana will want to forget in a hurry.
It cannot be forgotten that the season before last was the complete other end of the scale for the attacking midfielder, and it also cannot be forgotten by Liverpool fans how good Lallana is as a footballer.
Two-footed, composed and technically gifted on the ball – Lallana is a joy to watch on his day and a footballer hugely appreciated by his current managers, Jurgen Klopp and England’s Gareth Southgate.
2016/17 saw Lallana cement himself in a new position in a deeper central-midfield role than he was used to, a move which saw him notch 8 goals and 7 assists, producing the ‘numbers’ he was accused of failing to provide earlier in his Liverpool career.
His fine form was represented on the international scene as well, winning England’s player of the year award for that season.
Southgate has talked of his huge appreciation of the player on a number of occasions, and there is no doubt he would have made the World Cup squad if it wasn’t for his lack of playing minutes this season. England to reach the semi-final in Russia is 3/1 with RedsBet.
His technical prowess and ability to pick a lock was a pleasure to witness on occasion in 2016/17 and was a mainstay in the Liverpool midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum.
A year is a long time in football and it could well prove to be the year that has seen this Liverpool side develop to a point where Lallana’s high skillset is no longer enough to contribute effectively on a consistent basis.
There are no links with other clubs concerning Lallana at this moment in time but should Liverpool complete their move for Fekir and another forward — links with Gent’s Moses Simon circulated last night — you can quickly see a situation where he is surplus to requirements. Fekir to join Liverpool this summer is currently 2/9.
Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the arrival of Naby Keita would see Lallana seventh in the pecking order for a midfield slot.
His appearances, albeit a lack of, this season have seen him mainly play a role in the front three but there is an argument this is less effective in the forward line nowadays.
The issue facing Lallana is whether this Liverpool team have just moved on in his absence.
An attacking style based on pace and directness, picking up on second balls and forcing mistakes from under-pressure, opposition defenders may be beyond what Lallana can offer at this point in time.
A lot will depend on what the number 20 can show in pre-season, if given the opportunity, and if Lallana can show signs of reproducing the numbers of 2016/17 then perhaps his career at Anfield won’t come to an end this summer.
Goals and assists coming from the midfield has to be something this team have to improve on next season if they are to challenge for domestic and European honours again.
James Milner was a stand-out with 11 assists in all competitions but four from Wijnaldum and Can leaves a lot to be desired. Those three only notched eight goals between them as well.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return of five goals and seven assists represent tallies that Liverpool want to see but that too needs to be improved. Lallana’s 16/17 stats are closer to what needs to be produced to back-up the free-scoring front three.
A lot rests on pre-season for Lallana but this summer could well represent a crossroads for Jordan Henderson’s bezzie mate.