Add them all up and the numbers don’t look terrible. Six goals and four assists in 41 appearances across all competitions. A goal every five matches he was on the pitch. Still, it wasn’t up to expectation for Adam Lallana, who did nearly twice as well the previous season with Southampton, and arrived at Liverpool for £25M and with very high expectations.
The main issue, though, was injuries. Lallana missed more time with Liverpool in 2014-15 than he did in eight seasons with Southampton, which both helps to hammer home just how bad his injury struggles were but also means that, hopefully, that won’t be an issue heading into his second season at his new club. And if he can stay fit, Jordan Henderson believes he’s set for a breakout season.
"It was hard for Adam," Liverpool’s captain told LFCTV. "Last pre-season he got and injury so he didn’t really have a good pre-season under his belt and when he came back he was always having to fight to get back fit and then he’d pick up another one or two niggles. I felt sorry for him last season, [because] Adam is a top, top player. He’s got great quality and great knowledge of the game."
So far, Lallana has at least had the strong pre-season this time around. Having impressed on the pre-season tour, though, he returns to training in England knowing minutes will be harder to get this year thanks to the arrival of Roberto Firmino. One of the best attacking midfielders in Europe over the past two seasons with Hoffenheim, many expect the Brazilian to end up ahead of Lallana on the depth chart.
Still, if Lallana can stay fit, his form already in pre-season has proven he’s good enough to be a difference maker for the club. He will also know that after last season’s stop and start campaign, this is his make it or break it year, and that if he fails to deliver he risks be listed amongst the club’s many transfer failures over the years, a player who couldn’t make the step up from St. Mary’s to Anfield.
"He’s a fantastic player," added Henderson. "I first saw him when I was in the England squad, and I got a bit of a shock how good he was with both feet. We saw glimpses of it last season but those injuries sort of knocked him off track, but I’ve told him this season is his season. It’s a big season for him, he knows that, but he’s got more than enough ability and enough work rate to achieve that."
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