A collective groan went up in the Liverpool fan-o-sphere this summer when we learned that Adam Lallana, a key cog in the way Klopp’s midfield machine worked, had torn a thigh muscle and would be out for the majority of 2017. That news came at the tail-end of a disappointing summer when Philippe Coutinho’s future was still (as ever) up in the air.
After several months of rehabilitation and a slow re-introduction into the team, Lallana finally completed nearly a full 90 minutes of football on New Years day against Burnley. It was a strong performance as well, and though he’s not yet back to his high-pressing, indefatigable best, it had to be encouraging for himself and Klopp to see.
Following the game, and the team’s exciting, last minute victory, Lallana talked about how thrilled he is to be back in the mix for the Reds.
"It tests different parts of you, but I feel that I have learned so much from being out," Lallana said. "I have come back strong. I had a couple of little setbacks along the way with a minor blister and then a tight muscle but that's what happens.
“Maybe it is credit to the manager over the last few games, just holding me back. I was able to get some good training sessions in but I'm back now. I have lasted a game after being out for four or five months so that shows I am in good shape.
"There's a lot to look forward to. We are in amongst the top four and in the last 16 of the Champions League. There are so many great games to look forward to, like the FA Cup tie against Everton on Friday. I'm absolutely delighted to be back and part of a winning team again."
Lallana’s return comes at the perfect time, with the dead of winter kicking in and fresh legs necessary for Liverpool to challenge for silverware. Monday’s victory kept alive a 16-game unbeaten run from the Reds, but they’ll have to do even more if they want to secure their first piece of silverware since 2012.
With any luck, Lallana will be able to slide straight back into the team to help make a difference. His next chance is the derby. If Klopp thinks he can handle two games in a week, he’ll likely start since Henderson and possibly Coutinho will still be unavailable.