They say that breaking up is hard to do, and Liverpool's contingent of ex-Southampton players know that it's true more than any of the club's recruits from this past summer. Rickie Lambert moved on without much controversy, but the prolonged negotiations around Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren caused strife on both sides. Now it seems that Lallana is being asked to explain the actions that lead up to his departure from Southampton.
"I didn't say I'd never play for the club again," Lallana clarified. "Once I knew of Liverpool's interest, I asked the club if they could come to an agreement and that it would be my wish to leave and join Liverpool. I make no secret of that, I'm an ambitious person.
"I just felt at the age I was at in my career and with Mauricio [Pochettino] leaving as well, it was [the] right time for me to test myself. It was a great opportunity. It's sad and I am disappointed that certain fans feel like that, but I can kind of understand why. They love Southampton, they are Southampton fans. I will always love Southampton. I had a great time down there. It's just one of those things."
Lallana's request to move is being painted as a "strike" in the press, which is odd considering the Southampton player who came nearest to "striking" was Dejan Lovren when he suggested he wouldn't join up with the Saints for pre-season after his post-World Cup vacation. Lovren never followed through on his ultimatum, and it's odd that the question is now being put to Lallana, whose transfer was indeed sticky but never involved any talk of the player refusing to play. Until now for whatever reason.
To be fair to the press, Liverpool bought so many Southampton players that it's easy to confuse them and their convoluted transfer stories. Grab a little of Story A, apply it to Player B, and presto! You've got a player denying something he'd never been accused of in the first place.