Since his arrival from Southampton on the heels of Liverpool's title challenge in 2014, Adam Lallana has divided fan opinion more than most. Immediately, many felt that his transfer fee was excessive for a player coming from a club further down the table, and he didn't carry the vaunted marquee name value many followers of the club were craving.
As the season progressed, focus shifted to his status as a former Saint - of which Liverpool had signed three, none of which were doing too hot - and his perceived lack of end product. The latter is slightly odd, given that Lallana scored or assisted a goal every 217 minutes in his first two seasons for LFC, superior to his goal or assist every 243 minutes in two PL seasons for Southampton. In other words, providing more end product than previously in his career.
Nonetheless, despite his work rate and captainly demeanour, Reds fans have never quite warmed to Lallana in the same way his managers have. Jürgen Klopp, on the other hand, is a big fan:
"Adam was, from the first second, important [to me].
"He was with the national team in October last year and when he came back I was really waiting for him. It was like, 'come on, Adam Lallana'.
"I knew him from Southampton and I thought [he was] a really good player. To be honest, I didn’t see too much from when he played for Liverpool but I knew from Southampton he was a brilliant player and all this stuff so I was really looking forward to [meeting him].
"Since we worked together it’s always getting better - it's good. He can play different positions, he’s quick, he’s mentally strong, he’s a smart player.
"[He is] very important for the team - as a person and as a player.
"He’s a nice guy, even as a neighbour! I have a few other neighbours, they are not that good as footballers!
"That’s all I can say. Everybody who has the possibility to speak to him knows he's a very smart guy and he's really settled in Liverpool."
As we all take in and appreciate the mental image of Klopp sitting impatiently at home checking his watch and shouting "Come on Lallana!", we should also recognise that this is a lot of praise. I count seven separate positive qualities listed. Klopp may be enthusiastic at times, but he is rarely this effusive in his acclaim of single players, and this goes to show that despite fan misgivings, Lallana always seems to earn the faith of his managers.
Having somewhat reinvented himself as a central midfielder this season, while simultaneously upping his end product to a goal or assist every 111 minutes in the process, he might just be on his way to turn his doubters into believers as well.