Slowly but surely, Liverpool's squad has started to take shape, and if the draw against Everton yesterday afternoon is any indication, Adam Lallana is going to have an important part to play. Playing on tired legs, he was still one of Liverpool's best, rightly earning praise along with the standout effort of Jordan Henderson. Lallana's intelligence and workrate with and without the ball was a major boost for a stuttering Liverpool midfield and attacking contingent, and while it didn't immediately produce goals, it certainly improved the squad's cohesiveness as a whole.
Those familiar with the player won't be surprised, as his display yesterday resembled so many of the superb performances he's turned in for Southampton the past few years. It's further unsurprising that he's started to turn a corner in terms of sharpness, as he's now essentially wrapping up his own personal preseason after injury kept him from participating in the team's:
"After every game I'm feeling more comfortable. I just want to keep working hard and I still feel I can improve even more, get better and put in better performances. I don't want to make excuses, but I did miss pre-season. It's a valuable part of getting the rustiness out. It's just going to be with game time now. Because of the injuries we've had, I've probably played a lot more than I would have done coming back from injury. But it has been great - that's what you need as a player. I felt great out there, fitness-wise, and it's just disappointing we couldn't get the three points."
Ideally we would see less of him on Wednesday, but with Joe Allen and Emre Can still injured and Lazar Markovic suspended, the 26-year-old might find himself with his third start in eight days, and the potential for 300 minutes across three matches. There's a fine line between "playing a lot more because of injuries in the squad" and "playing so much that you're one of the injuries in the squad," and hopefully Brendan Rodgers is able to effectively manage his minutes heading into the international break.
But for a player who found himself subject to criticism that he couldn't last a full match, his efforts in the past week have been more than admirable, and yesterday's was one of the better individual displays of the season:
Video by LFCTikiTaka