Liverpool Twitter was overflowing with hot take tweets when Lallana was preparing to come on as a substitute against Manchester United. The comments were overwhelmingly negative, and not without good reason.
The English international, once Jurgen Klopp’s first name on the team sheet, just hasn’t been the same dynamic, threatening player since injuries over the past few seasons started severely disrupting his rhythm and playing time. And with Lallana now on the wrong side of 30, most assumed his ability to come on and impact matches was in the past (again, with ample evidence from recent seasons).
Lallana responded in the best way possible—scoring a late equalizer when it looked as if all was lost against the club’s biggest rival.
James Milner was asked about the goal ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League clash against Genk, and summed up his feelings in one word:
“Delighted,” Milner said, “We all know how good Adam is and you need that luck in football, and he hadn’t seemed to have it over the last couple of years.
“Nobody sees the side within the training ground, when he’s working in the gym tirelessly and trying everything and coming back and putting the graft in and the long hours and every attention to detail possible. So for him to come back and score in a massive game and get a massive point for us was fantastic and everyone is delighted for him.
“It shows again that you need a full squad of players and competition and top-quality players [to be successful] and he has proved many times how good he is. It’s great to have him back, not only on the field with his ability but the character he is and the voice he is in the dressing room is very important to us.”
Milner knows a thing or two about hard work on the training ground, putting in the long hours, and continuing to surprise folks on Twitter and beyond when he should be “past it.”
It was clear from Klopp’s very first match that the German manager appreciated Lallana’s hard work, skill, and intelligence. The fact that Klopp continues to keep him around in the squad, despite his struggle to get on the pitch and impact matches, shows that this admiration is still there.
Hopefully this is the first of many solid performances, leading to a Lallanaissance of sorts.