Skipper Jordan Henderson has spoken in length about his England and Liverpool team-mate Adam Lallana, with the new Premier League season soon upon us.
Lallana arrived for huge money last summer, but a series of injuries and being asked to play a multitude of positions affected any chance of consistency and justifying the price tag.
The 27-year-old’s enjoyed a superb pre-season though which an injury denied him in 2014, and Henderson is convinced Lallana will hit the ground running this time around.
“It was hard for Adam,” the captain told LFCTV, which is available on LFCTV GO now.
“Last pre-season he got an injury so he didn’t really have a good pre-season under his belt and when he came back he was always trying to fight and get back fit and he then picked up one or two niggles during the season.
“I felt a bit sorry for him last season but Adam is a top, top player. He’s got great quality and he’s got great knowledge of the game.
“He’s a good lad as well and I’m sure he will work really hard this pre-season and come the first game of the season I’m sure he will be flying.
“I’ve told him that I’m expecting big things from him this season!”
Lallana prides himself on his technical ability, close control and two-footedness – and it’s something Henderson and fellow team-mates cannot help but discuss after training sessions.
“I say that because he’s a fantastic player,” he continued.
“I first saw him when I was in the England squad and I got a bit of a shock as to how good he was with both feet.
“A lot of people come up to me in training, whether it’s here or with England, and always mention him. He’s a top quality player and he’s a big player for us this season.
“We see every day in training what he’s capable of. We saw glimpses of it last season but those injuries sort of knocked him off track a little bit, but I’ve told him this season is his season.
“It’s a big season for him, he knows that, but I’m sure he’s got more than enough ability and enough work rate to achieve that.”
Lallana’s pre-season form suggests he’ll be a starter early on this term, but the ex-Saint has a number of superb attacking midfielders to battle with for spots in the side. Liverpool have Roberto Firmino, Coutinho, Jordon Ibe and Lazar Markovic all capable of shining in the wide spots of the 4-3-3.
It’s up to Lallana to score and assist goals early on, and provide a constant outlet on the left – where he’s likely to start the season. He undeniably has the talent to do so.