Adam Lallana was arguably England’s best player at Euro 2016, and he has carried his impressive form into the new Premier League season.
Lallana has received plenty of praise for his performance in Liverpool’s 5-1 demolition of Hull, but his manager Jurgen Klopp isn’t surprised;
“He likes to train, he likes to work, he was like this from the first day. This is now the credit he takes from the work he did.”
The 28 year old struggled to make an impact at Anfield after his £25 million switch from Southampton in 2014, but he has steadily improved under the tutelage of Klopp.
The performances of Philippe Coutinho and Saido Mané have deservedly received attention, but the exploits of Lallana have gone somewhat under the radar.
The Liverpool midfielder is often praised for his quick feet and technical ability, but there is another area of his game which is often overlooked.
Lallana has covered more distance over 90 minutes than any other player in the Premier League so far this season. In fact, he’s done it twice. The English international ran a staggering 13.1km in the Reds’ 4-1 victory over Leicester, breaking his own record (12.5km) from the 1-1 draw with Spurs a few weeks earlier.
Lallana’s tireless running has been integral to Liverpool’s early season success. He has benefited from a positional switch, which has seen him drop back into centre midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Georgio Wijnaldum.
Lallana operates on the right of the midfield three in a 4-3-3 formation, and his relentless pressing and defensive work is key to Klopp’s system, and his creativity has reaped dividends when the Reds have turned possession over.
One criticism often levelled at Lallana is that he doesn’t provide enough goals or assists for all his good work. That seems to be changing this season.
Lallana was involved in three of Liverpool’s five goals against Hull. He opened the scoring with a clever finish, before teeing up both Saido Mané and Philippe Coutinho in either half. He has registered three goals and three assists in six league games thus far.
He also bagged his first international goal with a stoppage time winner in Slovakia last month.
It seems that all the pieces are finally falling into place for the former Southampton skipper, and he has finally come of age at Anfield.
His creativity will always draw admirers, but his work rate is equally important to his side’s success.