It has been quite a year for both Liverpool and for Southampton’s Adam Lallana. Having finished seventh two seasons ago, the Merseyside club surprised everyone by having a massive say in the title race which saw them just miss out and end the campaign in second, in what was manager Brendan Rodgers second season in charge.
For Saints star Lallana, the last twelve months haven’t been too bad either. Starting the 2013/14 season in excellent form, he was deservedly given his first England cap in November in the home friendly with Chile, before earning two more international caps in friendlies against Germany and Denmark. His impressive performances for both club and country this season have seen him included in the England squad for the World Cup in Brazil.
Alongside Lallana, in the 23-man squad, sees five Liverpool players in the shape of Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, all who had a big part to play in the reds terrific season.
The selections of Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge in particular, perhaps two or three years ago would have been severely questioned and possibly even laughed at. Henderson joined the Reds back in 2011 under then manager Kenny Dalglish for £16million and was a signing that was frowned upon with the midfielders performances being considerably under par considering the price that was paid for him. However since the arrival of Rodgers at Anfield, Henderson has become one of the most consistent performers for Liverpool and a player who fans always expect to see on the team sheet every Saturday.
Although Sturridge was selected for the national side in 2012 with appearances coming against Sweden and Holland, he was far from the player he is today. Playing out of position and seen as more of a squad player at Chelsea, the striker’s career was stalling and the move to Liverpool in January 2013 was one that has since seen his career shoot to new levels.
Despite the fact Brendan Rodgers has only been at Liverpool for two years, the former Swansea man, has significantly developed both Henderson and Sturridge as players in his short spell. The way his side plays the game, and the fact he believes in his players’ abilities has seen Henderson and Sturridge become top quality players for Liverpool, and ones clearly good enough to compete for their national side at the World Cup.
Not only has Rodgers developed Henderson and Sturridge, but Raheem Sterling as well. The youngster has had a phenomenal season at Anfield and looks set to start England’s opening World Cup game against Italy. For all those who remember watching ‘Being Liverpool’ during the 2012/13 season at Anfield, we all go back to the moment Rodgers had a go at Sterling for back chatting during a pre-season training session.
However despite this Sterling began the season well for the Reds scoring his first competitive goal for the club in a home win against Reading. This and a goal against Sunderland during the season was as good as it got for Sterling who was rested for much of the remainder of the season by Rodgers.
The winger though fought himself back into the first team XI going into last season and was heavily influential in the club’s quest for the league title. His season went from strength to strength with important goals coming against Arsenal, Manchester City and Norwich City. Sterling played 30 times for his club last season scoring nine times and registered five assists and will thank Rodgers for the way the Liverpool boss has managed the youngster whose on the field relationship with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, meant the Anfield club’s attack was one of the most feared in the Premier League.
Although only 19, Sterling has an experienced football head on him, his vision, strength, confidence on the ball and direct running cause defences all sorts of problems, and it looks like he will be a key member of the England squad in the World Cup. The development of the three players mentioned above has been massively significant for both Liverpool and England, with the fact the three of them alongside current internationals Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard have been influential in Liverpool’s excellent campaign, and sees Liverpool dominate the England squad.
As with every end to a Premier League season, there is always transfer gossip and rumours linking the stand out players with big moves away, and the last month has been no different. Southampton’s Adam Lallana has been one of those players, scoring nine goals for the Saints in guiding them to a top ten finish, in their second season since promotion to the top flight. His current club has always had a great reputation of producing talent who move on to bigger clubs, with the prime examples of Walcott and Gareth Bale, and it looks likely that Lallana will be no different. Liverpool have been heavily linked with the play maker who has also been linked with Manchester United, Manchester City and Spurs. At 26, Lallana is in producing some of the finest football of his career and depending on his next move has huge potential to be even better. From looking at the development of the likes of Henderson, Sterling Sturridge and even Jon Flanagan over the past couple of years, a move to Anfield would suit both parties.
In Lallana, Liverpool would have another creative attacking player, experienced in the top flight, and one that would add great quality to their side. For the player himself, being at Liverpool would offer the opportunity to continue developing as a player but under Brendan Rodgers, and carry on playing a similar style of football that he had been at Southampton. Not only this, Lallana has already stated his ambition to challenge for titles and to play in Europe, and if last season is anything to go by, this chance will come by playing at Anfield. It would do no harm to his international career either as it is obvious from his World Cup call up that if he was to continue his consistent form, he has a long future in the England setup.
A move to Manchester City would obviously give Lallana the chance to compete for the big honours, but as seen with the likes of Jack Rodwell and previously Adam Johnson, game time would be limited to the Capital One and FA Cup. Rodwell was tipped as one of the brightest prospects at Everton, but after moving to City has barely played for the club. Another example is Manchester United and Tom Cleverley, who despite having played for England many times during their World Cup qualifying campaign, has not impressed for United this season and will struggle to make the United starting eleven next season with new manager Louis Van Gaal set for a mass spending spree to strengthen the midfield. Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has a great project going on at Anfield and the addition of Lallana as mentioned would benefit both player and club.
In the short time he has played for England, it is obvious he is a bright prospect and one that should excite English fans especially with fellow young players such as Barkley, Chamberlain and Sterling breaking into the national team too.