Is coaxing fresh Lallana tune Klopp’s best Liverpool achievement?
There were numerous excellent Liverpool performances to praise in a commanding win over Manchester United in Europe, but it’s the display of a player who has bewildered Reds fans for so long that will arguably please them most.
When Liverpool hastily splurged £25m on Adam Lallana in the summer of 2014, the price tag promised Anfield’s inhabitants they were in for a treat; a special talent had been procured.
The Southampton skipper’s instrumental role in the club’s meteoric rise back up the divisions had earned its just desserts, and the boyhood Everton fan was arriving with his best years ahead.
Perhaps it was the often troubling transition from big fish/small pond to just another minnow in a far deeper body of water, but that is not how things turned out.
Injuries played their part during his debut 2014/15 campaign. Nonetheless, Brendan Rodgers could not seem to extract the kind of virtuoso brilliance that had thrust Lallana into the spotlight once the Saints were back at the top table.
Although glimpses of his technical ability were fleetingly evident, accusations he was lightweight and devoid of the metal required to flourish at such a huge club were continually thrown his way and, have largely persisted, until recently.
Clearly an admirer of Lallana’s since arriving to replace Rodgers in October, Jurgen Klopp has shown far more faith in the England midfielder than his predecessor and crucially, has introduced some much-needed aggression to his game.
Would Lallana under Rodgers have picked a scrap with Yaya Toure in the Capital One Cup final?
The simple answer (however ill-advised picking that particular opponent was) is no.
Under Klopp, the 27-year-old has become one of the German’s most vehement converts to his gegenpress system.
Like a well-drilled soldier, Lallana can now be seen scurrying around like a man possessed when not in possession order to win the ball back for his side, stabbing a toe in where it’s not wanted.
This was personified against United, but it’s not only a fired-up forward Liverpool fans are now seeing.
Those deft touches and tricks which weren’t coming off are suddenly extracting groans of delight rather than frustration at Anfield.
There was one especially mesmerising piece of skill where the former Bournemouth youth somehow defied physics when jinking his way free from a swarm of United players in the second half which summed up his rebirth under Klopp.
If that was something like the “Rock and Roll football” the former Dortmund coach is searching for with Liverpool when humbling their bitterest rivals, then Lallana is now on lead guitar.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.