It’s been a difficult first half to the season for Liverpool Football Club, with Brendan Rodgers’ side struggling to live up to expectations following last year’s title challenge. In recent weeks there have been signs that perhaps the manager has begun to find a way forward for the squad, but up until then there had been very little good for fans hoping for the best to latch onto.
One of the few brights spots, though, was summer signing Adam Lallana. An injury kept him out for the first month of the campaign, and even after he returned, Rodgers’ seeming reluctance to play both him and Philippe Coutinho at the same time led to limited minutes, but any time he was on the pitch he looked a quality player. His impact may have been limited, but it was plainly clear he could make an impact.
"It’s been difficult, we’re not going to shy away from that," said Lallana following last night’s victory over Swansea. "But the lads are slowly settling into the team. Emre Can was brilliant tonight and I thought Moreno and Manquillo put in really disciplined performances. It’s not easy coming from abroad, being young and not being able to speak the language, [so] I’m really happy for them as well as the team."
Liverpool’s new signings have perhaps been on the end of some undeserved criticism so far this season, as Can, Moreno, Manquillo, and Lallana have all looked very good at times when given the chance. The problem has been less the players themselves and more finding a system where they can all excel in. And the problem has been scoring goals after the departure of Luis Suarez and with Daniel Sturridge out injured.
There are signs, though, that with the 3-6-1, a way forward has been found. Certainly for Lallana, playing in a central role as one of the advanced players in a box four-man midfield is paying off, giving the player a platform to deliver on the flashes of promise and quality he showed in his first months with the club and culminating in what was perhaps Liverpool’s best team performance of the season last night.
"I’ve really been enjoying playing off Philippe and Raheem," said the midfielder. "I’ve played a lot of my football in the middle. I feel more relaxed and comfortable there with a bit more of a free role, [and] the manager seems to have found a shape which is working."