Adam Lallana was one of the first Liverpool players to embrace and embody Jürgen Klopp’s high energy, counter-pressing style, and a key part of the Reds’ success during the early days of Klopp’s tenure. A combination of injuries, age, and competition for positions led to a steady decline in his playing time as his contract wound down. Liverpool opted not to offer him a new deal at the end of the 2019-20 season, and he joined Brighton & Hove Albion on a free transfer.
Even as it became increasingly clear that Lallana’s future lie with another club, it was also clear that Klopp still placed a great deal of trust in him. He continued to appear in matchday squads and make regular substitute appearances when he was healthy, even when many fans thought those minutes should go to other players.
In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live today, Lallana provided some insight into he and Klopp’s relationship, and he detailed the conversation he had with the Liverpool manager that led him to look for a new club once his contract ended.
“To give you a bit of an insight, I spoke to Jürgen in October of last year and just sat down and had an open conversation,” Lallana said. “We have a great relationship and I just said ‘What’s it looking like for me next year?’ I know I’m out of contract and I know I’m not playing regularly.”
Being on an expiring contract with dwindling playing time is never a comfortable situation, especially for an aging player, so Lallana can’t be blamed for seeking clarity on how he fit into Klopp’s vision going forward.
“Although I had a pretty big role in the squad around the team, I wanted a bit of honesty. He basically said to me in October, get your agent to start looking for another club,” Lallana revealed.
To his credit, Klopp didn’t try to sugarcoat the situation, and he was very direct and honest with his veteran midfielder. However, he also made sure Lallana knew that he still had a role to play as long as he was a part of the squad.
“That doesn’t mean you’re not in my plans or he isn’t going to use me,” Lallana continued. “Four days later he brought me on at Old Trafford, and I scored the equalizer. And I think that shows what type of person Jurgen is. He’s very honest.”
According to Lallana, Klopp then went on to explain that he deserved playing time that Klopp couldn’t give him at Liverpool, and that was why he gave him the green light to speak with other clubs about his future.
“He said to me I deserve to be playing more and I deserve more game time and to be playing more. He couldn’t offer that to me so from then I had his blessing, the club’s blessing, to give my agent the go-ahead to speak to other clubs about next season, which is now this season.”
Klopp has a reputation for being loved and respected by his players, even when he can’t provide them with the opportunities they desire. Lallana is the second former player in as many days to praise Klopp, even after moving on when it was clear their role in his squad was diminishing. Comments like these really speak to the quality of the man we are so fortunate to be able to call our manager.