Who will beat Liverpool?
This is the question that the rest of the Premier League must be asking themselves after the Reds’ latest victory. The Anfield outfit travelled to north London to face Tottenham this weekend, are were far from their best – Spurs actually had more shots during the match – but that had little influence on the final result. Jurgen Klopp’s men ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a Roberto Firmino strike, and that now sees them lead the table by 14 points from Manchester City with a game in hand to boot.
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Whilst this was not the most eye-catching of displays from Liverpool, there were still plenty of positive points, Adam Lallana’s cameo being one of them a week after he was labelled as being “unbelievable” by his boss.
The former Southampton midfielder was introduced to the action by Klopp with 29 minutes left on the clock, and he took no time to settle in to the play. During his time on the pitch, he landed 92% of the passes he attempted, and also completed the only dribble he attempted.
It was actually from a defensive point of view where he excelled, though. In the short amount of time he graced the field, he made three tackles, and won five of the seven ground duels he contested. He also made one interception as well.
The 31-year-old looks like he could be on the way out of the door in the summer. He has less than a year left on his contract, and there has been no talk about a renewal as of yet. He does, however, have a one-year extension option in his deal, while James Pearce said in a Q&A for The Athletic last month that he is definitely leaving at the end of the season.
He may not be a guaranteed starter, but performances like this do show that he can still provide value to the side. His showing received plenty of plaudits – Mark Baker said on podcast Blood Red that Lallana is a “massive asset” to have – and rightly so. When called upon, he rose to the occasion and did not let standards slip.
With Liverpool having this option to extend the deal, they must exercise it. At 31, he still has something to give to the side, and can have a James Milner-like influence on the team. Just like the former Leeds man, he has been used in a number of different positions during this campaign.
He will not be a starting member of the squad, and a new midfielder who will play a bigger role may be required anyway. But that does not mean that the Merseyside club should move on players who are still committed to the cause. They are worth their weight in gold.
Elsewhere, this Liverpool target is as good as Mane at his peak.