Having spent half the season toiling in sub-par performance after sub-par performance, Liverpool have got back to looking something like their old selves from last season with a dominant display against Swansea at Anfield on Monday. Key to securing their second win on the spin was Adam Lallana, who, as the commentators repeated ad infinitum, looked to have made a major turning point in his burgeoning Liverpool career.
"That was what was missing from our way of working for the first period of this season," Brendan Rodgers said after the match. "We're a team that plays with big pressure [on the opponents]. We've got technically-gifted players in the team, but that ability to press the ball allows them to go and get and create chances at the top end of the field. We asked the players at that end to go and press and work, and [Lallana]got his reward.
"That might only happen a couple of times in your career when you go and get goals like that [on a failed clearance by the keeper]. He blocked it really well because if he doesn't block the line tactically coming into the press, the goalkeeper probably rolls it out to the other centre-half. He blocked the line, that forced the 'keeper to kick it, he got his body there and got the bit of luck his pressing deserved. I'm very pleased. I think he's a wonderfully gifted player."
Lallana scored a second goal to complete his first Premier League brace before being substituted off to a rapturous standing ovation from the Anfield faithful. It was a performance of the type Liverpool fans were hoping Lallana would have immediately upon arrival from Southampton, but injury, transition, and inexplicable lack of playing time led to a much longer bedding in period than expected. In his last few outings, though, Lallana has looked much closer to the type of player Brendan Rodgers aggressively pursued allsummer, and Liverpool are certainly looking much better for it.
"You come into a club this size with the expectancy, you never know it until you arrive here," Rodgers continued. "But I think they're now starting to adapt to that and starting to adapt to what we demand here and how far we want to go. You look at the team tonight and it was a very young team in terms of the average age of that side. I was very pleased with the overall performance of Adam and the team."