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Talking Tactics

Lallana giving Liverpool punch in midfield

Adrian Clarke 15 Mar 2019
Adam Lallana LIVBUR

Adrian Clarke says midfielder's box-to-box displays can make a difference for title run-in

Adrian Clarke looks at a key tactical talking point in Matchweek 31.

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The aggression and energy Adam Lallana provided when Liverpool were counter-pressing in Sunday's 4-2 victory over Burnley was a "game-changer", according to his Jurgen Klopp.

Lallana's outstanding sliding block on Phil Bardsley paved the way for Sadio Mane to put Liverpool 2-1 up.

After his dynamic display, Lallana could be a key man again when Liverpool visit Fulham.

Bridging the gap

The 30-year-old was deployed in a midfield trio last weekend, providing valuable support to the Liverpool front line.

Pushing to join Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, the hard-working midfielder had seven touches inside Burnley's penalty area.

By contrast, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho had only two combined touches in the area.

Contributing to his team defensively, Lallana delivered a box-to-box performance that Liverpool’s other midfielders have struggled to provide this term.

Lallana's heat map v Burnley
Adam Lallana heat map v Burnley
Added penetration

His forward passes also gave Liverpool added penetration.

He linked up especially well with the in-form Mane, giving him the ball 16 times.

Eager to get involved and make things happen in the final third, the returning midfielder ensured the front three were less isolated than they have been in previous matches.

How Lallana compared v Burnley
  Lallana Fabinho Wijnaldum
Passes in final third 31 14 13
Passes in opp. half 51 31 24
Most passes to Mane 16 Robertson 10 Alexander-Arnold 12
Fire in the belly

Klopp was also right to highlight the defensive qualities that Lallana added against Burnley. 

Covering the ground at an average speed of 7.78km/h, the highest of any Liverpool player, Lallana was aggressive in retrieving possession.

He won all three of his tackles and broke up play effectively, closing down opponents well.

Liverpool defensive stats v Burnley
Tackles won Interceptions Recoveries
Lallana 3 Lallana 2 Henderson 8
Matip 2 Matip 2 Robertson 7
Fabinho 2 Van Dijk 1 Lallana 6
Van Dijk 2 Fabinho 1 Firmino 6
    Alexander-Arnold 1 Van Dijk 6

Given the energy he brings to the side, Lallana is likely to feature a lot more during the run-in and could make the crucial difference to their PL title bid.

Also in this series

Part 2: Vardy profiting from Rodgers' high press
Part 3: Calvert-Lewin can emulate Lukaku with ruthless streak

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