Adam Lallana has been one of the standout players since Jürgen Klopp took over nearly two years ago. The quick footed, high pressing midfielder was surely tailor-made for Klopp’s system, but he’s putting his money on someone else to have (another) breakout season. Daniel Sturridge.
“He is a world class player. He has come back from the summer looking absolutely brilliant, so fit. He is going to be a massive player for us this season. I can feel it,” said Adam Lallana to the Telegraph. “He is looking really sharp and to have him firing on all cylinders would be like having two new signings if we can keep on the pitch and get him scoring goals.”
Lallana wasn’t wearing a Liverpool shirt last time we had Sturridge at his best, so to hear the impression that he’s made during this summer - Klopp himself said he’s in the “best condition I’ve ever seen him” - is a calming salve in this stressful time. Obviously the biggest questions have come from whether or not he can stay uninjured, and every indication has pointed to the fact that he’s working harder than ever to keep himself on the pitch.
“Every footballer gets injuries – Jordan Henderson has had a tough couple of years,” continued Lallana. “We all have to deal with it at some stage in our career. But we have got plenty of options and if we keep everyone fit, who knows what can happen?”
As the transfer window moves along, eyes are on what spaces Liverpool can improve on. Defense has always been a problem, but the Reds may be well on their way to curing all their ails. Some of those cures could involve moving players to different positions - something Lallana is no stranger to.
“It’s not major surgery we need. It’s little tweaks. We are looking good at the minute. Philippe (Coutinho) can play in different positions; he can play central and out wide. Sadio can play on the left or the right. It’s similar to me, I used to play out wide and I now play more central,” Lallana added. Bringing players in, though, is what most would expect, rather than moving existing ones around. Only the best should be pulling on the Liverpool shirt, though, says the midfielder.
“I want the best players to be linked with Liverpool and coming to Liverpool,” he said.
“If you are talking about it from a personal point of view, the pressure to get better and the competition for places is healthy. That is what we need. At times last year, our bench probably wasn’t as strong as we would have liked it to be. If we are going to achieve something, we are going to need a strong bench. We need a strong squad and players need to be on their toes. It is all good.
“There are 30 players out here with the three goalkeepers and a few young lads. That is a hell of a lot of players. You only have to look at the substitution that the manager can make. He is now replacing pace with pace and goals with goals.”
With matches coming fast and more frequently than last season, hopefully with the addition of Champions League ties to contend with, the more players that are fit and available would be all the better for Liverpool. The matches in Germany against Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and Napoli should hopefully be a more formidable test and better preparation for the squad for the year ahead.
“There are bits that we probably need to work at; we have still got a couple of weeks left and it has been good out here in Germany,” said Lallana. “There are commercial demands and other parts that you have got to do but we are here to play football and we are fully focused on it. I’m sure it is great for the manager to get to spend 24 hours a day with us.
“We had some tough days training - physically it was very demanding - but that is pre-season. It isn’t meant to be easy.”
With all the work everyone has put in, Lallana and Sturridge included, supporters can only hope to see the squad reach and achieve the highest goals they’ve set this coming season. All the work put into it must amount to something.