Joe Gomez made a wave by describing his teammate as a “shark” in the way he presses.
It is easy to forget how instrumental Adam Lallana was last season. His lengthy injury spell, paired with some fantastic stuff by the already defunct “fab four,” somewhat diminished Lallana’s role in the squad, at least in the minds of many supporters.
This is a mistake. Lallana was rightfully one of the first names on the team sheet last year, and instrumental in setting Jurgen Klopp’s famous gegenpressing style of heavy metal football. We might have scored (and conceded) loads, same as last season, but our press has suffered without the former Southampton man. No, not that former Southampton man, the other one.
His teammates, however, have not forgotten.
“He always gets it right. That doesn’t just mean running, it’s timing,” Joe Gomez explained in an interview with the club’s official website, sounding a great deal like his German boss. “He senses it; like a shark when they see blood, they attack.
“He sees when there’s an iffy pass or the weight of pass is off or someone has a dodgy touch, he is going to punish you quickly.
“Even if he doesn’t win the ball, he is creating the possibility for someone else to just from his press. That’s massive with the style of play the manager wants. He is so important.”
“It’s because he’s so good at it. It’s not just pressing and you can shift it and go – because he will trap you. It’s frustrating because you’re always wary, he’s going to come.
“Everyone knows how infectious [his pressing] is. That’s something we have missed.
“He is massive for the team. What he did last season was phenomenal. We have been unlucky not to have him so far this season but everyone is buzzing that he is back.”
We have yet to see a fully fit Lallana since his return from the injury he sustained in preseason. However, if the 29-year-old can return to last season’s form, a season in which he scored 8 goals and added 7 assists, it will go a long way toward becoming Liverpool’s Ringo, to Philippe Coutinho’s Pete Best.
While Liverpool has not necessarily missed Lallana’s impressive offensive contributions from last campaign, they have missed his pressing. Hopefully a solid run of games and a clean bill of health will show us what we’ve been missing.