It’s no secret that Liverpool have sorely missed Adam Lallana, just as they have sorely missed Sadio Mané. And Jordan Henderson. And, arguably, Daniel Sturridge. Since the midfielder succumbed to injury while on international duty for England (because of course) six weeks ago, Liverpool have lost a certain dimension going forward, evidenced perhaps by their continued struggles against struggling sides in recent matches.
No surprise then, that the mere sight of Lallana and Sturridge in training has provided a significant boost to flagging morale. Liverpool desperately need to secure all three points against Watford on Monday, so while all signs point towards Lallana being potentially available in some form or another, manager Jürgen Klopp will be wary of putting the midfielder in a position where he might hurt himself or the team’s rhythm (although the team has been doing a decent job of hurting their own rhythm recently).
Caution was the key in Klopp’s most recent assessment of Lallana’s situation and on the role that the midfielder might play against Watford:
I saw his last four rehab sessions and he looked really good. In the end, it’s a difference from that to first-team training but it’s wonderful to have him back. In our situation, to have a player back from injury, it’s great.
You have to think about whether he could start and whether he is ready for 45 minutes or more. If not then he cannot start because we cannot make the first change in the first half. We’ll see how he is but it’s the best news we could get.
Given the duration of his absence, it would be a bit of a surprise (albeit of the nice variety) to see Lallana in the starting XI. A substitute role seems more likely at this point, but will it be a “we’re-up-by-three-this-can’t-hurt” substitution, or will it be a “how-are-we-still-behind-Adam-better-warm-up” substitution? We’re just a day away from finding out.