In 2019, Adam Lallana – like most Liverpool players – enjoyed the most fruitful year of his footballing career. The Reds completed a glorious (sort of) treble, kicking off with Champions League glory, followed by a Super Cup and a Club World Cup.
Unfortunately – 2019 aside – the Lallana household has not become accustomed to winner’s medals. Prior to Liverpool’s Champions League triumph in June 2019, the former Saints man’s 13 years of professional football had garnered one measly EFL Trophy.
As glorious a year as Lallana enjoyed in 2019, the fact is that to be considered a top player, you must enjoy continuous success, and that’s something the Liverpool man just hasn’t been able to do.
And that’s not to say the 32-year-old doesn’t have the skills required to be considered a top player. His close control and ability to make a Cruyff Turn look like a natural movement is something no English player has displayed since Paul Gascoigne.
So to compare Lallana to arguably the greatest footballer of a generation, and then consider the former Southampton man has only 34 caps for England; something, at some point, clearly went wrong.
When a youngster is linked with a top club at a young age, often the suggestion is made that a few more years at his current club would do him well – further time to nurture and develop, However, such is modern football, often money talks and the youngster is taken from the club where he graduated.
Lallana is an exception to this rule. The future England international was playing in the third tier of English football at 23 and he wouldn’t go on to move to an elite club until he was 26 years old.
Admittedly, Lallana had been tearing apart the lower leagues during his time at Southampton, but so you would expect him to be. The fact is; he wasn’t pitting himself against the best week in, week out, therefore, wasn’t developing into the player he could have become.
In the summer of 2014, Lallana finally moved to a top club as he signed for Liverpool. However, the midfielder’s time at the club appears to be drawing to a close with a whimper. The 32-year-old should have been enjoying the best period of his career for the past few years, instead he has made just 40 league appearances in three years.
The reason for this? Unfortunately, Lallana just isn’t a Jürgen Klopp player.
The lightweight midfield man often finds himself playing second fiddle to the likes of Gini Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Yet Lallana isn’t blameless in all this. The former Saints man has seemed happy to see his Liverpool career dwindle while others are given the nod ahead of him.
Just look at teammate Oxlade-Chamberlain. He found himself in a very similar position; having left Southampton for a big club, the former Saints man had spent six years at Arsenal and his career was in danger of fizzling out. So he moved on and is enjoying arguably the best football of his career, and has subsequently already won more caps for England than Lallana.
Lallana should have left Liverpool two years ago. He may look back at his trophy cabinet and think he made the right move, but his football has suffered because of it.
However, there is hope yet for the career of Adam Lallana. With his contract at Liverpool due to expire this summer, the former Saints man looks set to link up with former boss Brendan Rodgers at Leicester, and we could be about to see the best of him.
In a fluid system which is based on sharp movement and quick passing, players akin to Lallana – such as James Maddison – have flourished.
Should the England man move to the King Power, Rodgers has proved he has the tools to get the best out of Lallana in the past, and the 32-year-old may be about to enjoy a renaissance in his career as he is afforded the chance to show the Premier League how good he truly can be.