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Adam Lallana Embracing New Midfield Anchor Role

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On the basis of what we’ve seen in pre-season, Liverpool have a new—and rather surprising—number six.

Liverpool v Olympique Lyonnais - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Until seeing it happen this pre-season, there probably isn’t a person on the planet—outside perhaps of Jürgen Klopp—who would have imagined Adam Lallana ending up in the six, and yet here we are, with the season set to kick off and Lallana set for a new role.

Having spent much of the pre-season deputizing Fabinho as the club’s midfield anchor, it hasn’t all gone perfectly smoothly for Lallana, but on the whole he has looked encouraging. And the player says he’s focusing on that—and on improving his defensive game.

“I found myself playing there a few times this pre-season and I’ve enjoyed it,” Lallana noted. “There are still aspects of the game I need to improve on and I’m sure I’ll learn the more I play there, [but] I’m delighted to get some more minutes and build my fitness.”

Lallana’s unfamiliarity with the role showed early on on Wednesday against Lyon, but after the shaky start he put in a mostly assured performance, and it’s possible to see what Klopp hopes to get from him in the role against stubborn opponents who sit deep.

And while Fabinho remains the undisputed first choice—and one imagines players like Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson would get the call in big games were he not available—it looks like Lallana will be a genuine, if situational, option for the six this season.

“I’ve got the ability to play there,” Lallana added. “There’s not been any formal chat [with Klopp] but I’m happy playing there. I see a lot of the ball I feel I can get us moving, get us out of tight situations, and bring a different aspect to Liverpool.”