Liverpool’s goal scoring machines so often steal the headlines when the team is firing in front of goal yet it is the less glamorous side to football that Adam Lallana has learnt to appreciate.
The Reds midfielder has not only stepped up his influence by providing the goals and assists that were demanded from him, but he has incorporated his defensive capabilities as a means to initiating attacks.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Telegraph, he said: “I feel now that a tackle or an interception high up the pitch is as nice a feeling as creating a goal for someone else.”
“Football has moved on in the last three or four years, in the way that teams do want to press high and win the ball back closer to the opponents’ goal.”
“I think the demand has changed for every player to do that in the team. We don’t say anymore ‘OK, we have a player who is unbelievably technically gifted, he will score us 20 goals but he doesn’t have to work hard’. Everyone needs to put a shift in.”
Jurgen Klopp’s men are at their most dangerous when they are hunting the ball down in the opposition half in packs and threatening to snatch it from an opponent and start an attack. It’s defending from the front at it’s best and the importance of such a tactic to us being successful is evidenced by just how unnatural is seems when we attempt to sit back.
Lallana’s work rate is so valuable in winning the ball back in the final third and springing a move that defensive units just wouldn’t have been able to plan for. He adds that extra grit and a frantic yet methodical approach to reclaiming possession that continues to be key in what makes the Reds so entertaining to watch going forward.