And along came Crystal Palace, with their difficult to beat football. Liverpool have struggled with the London club over several seasons now and, if I may, I think we’re all just about done with that. The Reds narrowly beat Palace late in the second half early in the season, and lost to them at Anfield a year ago. Two years ago James Milner was sent off at Selhurst Park. James Milner. And of course there are further bad memories to include Palace that are better left aside.
But this isn’t about Crystal Palace anyway. This is about a hero finally rising from the ashes of his hamstring injury to rain his fire and passion for football down on those Eagles and indeed all that lies beyond. Adam Lallana announces his return from the damaged realm.
“I’m fully fit now,” Lallana said. “We’ve got Palace at the weekend then (Manchester) City, then the Merseyside derby, then City.
“So, it doesn’t stop. Straight back into it at Melwood and just keep ticking over and look to get that rhythm.
“At any level I’m not built with complacency. I think you see that in the way I play.
Lallana played the last thirty minutes of England’s 1-1 draw with Italy on Tuesday and feels that he’s been peaking over the top of the fitness fence for long enough. He’s back. He’s hopped the fence and is now Cruyff turning through your garden.
“It’s just about getting rhythm and hopefully this was just the start of it” continued Lallana. “To get that rhythm you just need minutes on the pitch.
“It’s not just about training, it’s about playing competitive football. And there’s plenty of time between now and the end of the season.”
Lallana’s injury woes started way, way back in preseason. And his long-awaited return quickly pivoted to just more time in recovery as the magic that was summoned to heal him by the Liverpool sorcerers didn’t really work as well as the book of magic spells said it would.
“It’s been a bit stop-start,” said Lallana. “It’s been a different challenge for me this year.
“I’ve obviously had a long lay-off but I’m back at the business end of the season and I’ve got to look at the positives. We’ve got a World Cup coming up, some really important league games and the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
“So if you were to be back fit for one part of the season, it’s the back end, the business part, and raring to go.”
It will be a boon to the manager to have Lallana available for selection. Jürgen Klopp certainly needs numbers in his ranks for these remaining fixtures. Liverpool are still competing for Champions League football next year while their current European campaign provides the additional stress of needing to advance passed Manchester City to reach the semi-finals.
Mohamed Salah can do a lot of good football things. As can Liverpool’s other attackers, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané. But rotation is necessary if Klopp intends to triumph on two fronts. And that means he needs every player fit. Especially the heroes. And especially as long as the hero in question is cool with starting his resurgence from the bench at first.