Southampton welcome Liverpool for the final Capital One Cup quarter-final tie and there is a former St Mary’s favourite in the opposing dressing room who could well have a big say on the outcome.
There was a time not so long ago when Adam Lallana was the apple of Southampton’s eye, a locally-matured talisman who helped propel the club from the doldrums of League One to the bright lights of the Premier League.
Unfortunately for the Saints, their skipper’s dazzling top-flight displays earned him the chance at a dream move to Liverpool.
But since Lallana waved goodbye to his long-term home, it’s taken a troublesome first season and a change of manager to coerce something like his finest form out of the England regular again.
Nearly 15 months on Jurgen Klopp is the man Lallana is attributing his upturn in fortunes too, having become an integral part of the fluid three-man attack the German tactician has deployed to roaring success away from home since taking over from Brendan Rodgers.
Klopp’s positive influence
“He (Jurgen Klopp) is getting out of me what Mauricio (Pochettino) asked of me at Southampton,” Lallana told the Daily Telegraph ahead of the match.
“The manager (Klopp) sets his team out the way Pochettino does – that is where I can see a similarity. He said to me in our first conversation how he’d seen me play at Southampton. Now the role I’m playing now is more like it was there.”
Although only two goals have arrived for Lallana this season, the attacking midfielder has been heavily involved in the attacking forays which led to the rout of Chelsea and Manchester City and will be raring to prove a point at St Mary’s.
Both Lallana’s strikes this season came in cup competitions and both broke the deadlock, so the former Saints skipper could be a fine exponent on Ladbrokes *Double Odds First Goalscorer promotion for the televised game.
Lallana is a 9/1 chance to set the scoreboard rolling on his old stomping ground. The teams drew 1-1 at Anfield as recently as late October and there is virtually nothing to separate the clubs in the match odds.
However, on form it’s the visitors who seem best positioned to qualify, having pieced together a trio of consecutive victories, while the Saints have slumped to successive defeats home and away.
It could well be a tight contest, but those who believe Liverpool are justifiable favourites should be made aware that Ladbrokes are boosting a Reds win (inside 90 minutes) where both teams score, from 9/2 out to 11/2.
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