After months of speculation, it has today been confirmed that Adam Lallana will leave Liverpool upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season.
Having spent six years at Anfield since arriving from Southampton back in 2014, Lallana has often been a divisive figure amongst the fan base. While some admire his hardworking play style that makes him the epitome of a “Jurgen Klopp player”, others have grown continually frustrated at the midfielder’s inability to stay fit, and arguable failure to live up to his £25m price-tag.
With the 32-year-old now officially departing the club, with a reunion at Leicester City with Brendan Rodgers looking his most likely destination, what should Adam Lallana’s legacy at Liverpool look like?
Has Adam Lallana justified the £25m to bring him in from Southampton? Taking everything into consideration, probably not.
He arrived with a great deal of hype and excitement; having made the PFA Team of the Year back in 2013/14 for his performances on the South Coast, Lallana was viewed as a creative spark that could help take the Reds to the next level, and add a different element to the team.
While he struggled for consistency in his first season, as soon as Rodgers was sacked, and Klopp was appointed, it looked as though we would finally be seeing the Adam Lallana we imagined. He possessed the energy, and attitude to perform Klopp’s pressing style to perfection, and for a while set the benchmark for what the German required from his players.
Yet, injuries always seem to curtail him from cementing himself in this Liverpool side. Even with his impressive performances, how was Klopp supposed to build a team around someone who he could struggle to rely on from a fitness perspective?
Effectively, Lallana got left behind. New signings were bought in his place, and with fresh blood coming up from the academy, Lallana’s value in the squad just continued to deteriorate.
If you’d asked me prior to this season what Lallana’s Liverpool legacy should be, I’d find it relatively straightforward: a likeable player who always gave his all, but ultimately too frustrating, and injury prone to be remembered in a positive fashion. Before his late equaliser against Man United back in October, he hadn’t contributed a goal or assist since May 2017. Over two and a half years without a goal contribution; how can a player like that be thought of positively?
However, this season, I’ve grown to appreciate Lallana from an alternative perspective. As a professional, there’s not many players better out there.
Case in point, when playing as the “senior figure” in the FA Cup Merseyside Derby back in January, Lallana led by example, and delivered a top performance alongside his more inexperienced team mates. The likes of Neco Williams, and Harvey Elliot have also cited Lallana as a role model, and a figure of aspiration for them at Melwood with his outlook, and attitude.
His Liverpool career has been underwhelming, and could have been much more, and coming to the climax of his career, it is certainly the time to move on.
However, I’ll still remember him fondly. Moments like the dramatic Norwich winner, his performances in 16/17, and his shock goal at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign contribute, but irrespective of those things, you have a player who always gave his all for the Liverpool shirt in every single one of his 178 appearances.
He still has something to offer the Premier League, and can hopefully show that on a more regular basis next season. As for his Anfield career, he deservedly departs a Champions League winner, and impending Premier League winner.
He’s certainly played his part.