Player Zone: Time’s up for Adam Lallana at Anfield

Liverpool’s front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have been consistently brilliant this season firing 65 goals between them to ensure the Reds continue to accrue an astonishing points haul in the Premier League while reaching too the Champions League semi-final.

Almost as pertinently as this number however is the amount of minutes the trio have played: a colossal 11,386 in all competitions. Mo Salah has singularly played 3093 minutes and that’s just in the league. Only Alisson and Virgil Van Dijk have been employed more.

There has been nothing fortuitous about Liverpool’s lofty achievements this term but in this regard they can be considered lucky. To have your three best attackers fit, available and on song for pretty much the duration of a long campaign – a few strains and niggles aside – is a boon and especially when the back-up roster contains inferior fare and the injured.

This brings us to Adam Lallana, a player who is certainly in the latter camp, not the former. The ex-Southampton creative has proven himself in the past to be a favourite with Jurgen Klopp, liked for his versatility and ability to make things happen in the final third yet persistent groin and thigh problems have increasingly cast him as a peripheral figure at Anfield with appearances becoming rare even when fully fit. It begs the question then: is there any way back for the 34 cap England international? Can he once again become an integral part of the Reds’ make-up?

The answer alas is that it’s seriously doubtful and largely for the reasons above. Because what we can ascertain with near certainty is that Klopp won’t go into next season requiring his formative stars to remain free from injury throughout – a risk he has taken through necessity this time out – and with the fortunes lavished on his club from their consecutive Champions League adventures he will surely be furnished with the funds to secure a long-overdue like-for-like replacement for Philippe Coutinho.

But what about deployment for Lallana in Liverpool’s midfield? After all many fans believe that is where he is most effective. Again though the fate of the 30-year-old appears to be as an occasional sub – at best – due to being crowded out.

Naby Keita may have underwhelmed for much of this season but a notable improvement post-Christmas suggests there are better things to come from the Guinean in his second term. Elsewhere an engine room that looked functional but in need of a creative spark for much of 2018/19 has recently flourished and with Fabinho and Jordan Henderson impressing and Georginio Wijnaldum now established as the driving force of the team, there is very little room for a player who was only a couple of years ago a pivotal figure for both club and country.