Adam Lallana has always been known as a good man, wherever he has played. We experienced that first hand out on the US summer tour recently with The Anfield Wrap.
Finding out Andy Robertson had given us a signed shirt to raise money for charity, which we raffled in New York raising €1,400 for North Liverpool Food Banks, Adam insisted on doing something too.
So, he got his shirt from a recent game and got all the squad to sign it, including manager Jurgen Klopp, and gave it to us in Michigan. At our live show in Detroit we raffled the shirt raising almost twice as much as the first time, partly due to an Adam Lallana superfan who spent $300 on tickets.
It wasn’t enough to win, though. When an LFC staff member asked how much it had raised I told him the story of a girl spending so much and not winning. After the game Lallana had another shirt to give us, personally signed to Aimee.
He’s an honest man, on and off the pitch, and that’s what fans, and indeed managers, like about him. When he plays, you can rely on him for a high level of application and that, with his rare two footedness and manipulation of the ball, means it’s no wonder he so often makes the team sheet for club and country when he’s fit.
When he’s fit… that’s the issue.
Last season he made just thirteen appearances in all competitions, enduring a year of false starts and frustration.
Jurgen Klopp loves Adam Lallana. In his first two seasons, he was among the first names on the team sheet, he was said to “lead the press” for the manager, Lallana judging when to allow the opposition the ball and when to hunt in packs.
No one will be more pleased than Jurgen Klopp to see Lallana have a full pre-season. But he has also bought Naby Keita, who plays as an attacking midfielder, Xherdan Shaqiri, who can play wide and as a ten, and Fabinho, who may push Jordan Henderson further up the pitch.
Basically, he now has much more competition. That’s the problem with becoming less reliable to a manager. No matter how much he likes you he’s forced to look elsewhere. And not just from outside, but within.
Players like Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner might not make many headlines – Milner’s social media skills aside – but they have been there in the last season when the team has needed them.
Is it right to push them down the pecking order for someone who wasn’t? What if he breaks down again?
These are problems Lallana can only solve by seizing any chance he gets. They are headaches for the manager, but nice ones. You can never have too many good players, after all.
Generally, Liverpool look well stocked all over the pitch, having done their business early and announced they’re finished for the summer, sales aside. This has allowed Liverpool fans to relax and observe what others are up to, including down the road.
I have to say, it has been most amusing watching events at Goodison Park last few days. Only Everton could buy a player from Barcelona and still manage to attract laughter.
But step forward Lucas Digne, the gift that keeps on giving.
Not only did he turn up for his medical with bright red shoes on, which, as Ronald Koeman will tell you, is a colour you can’t even put on your Christmas tree, he then took his shirt off to reveal a great big tattoo paying homage to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” plastered across his chest.
If you think this won’t bother Evertonians you don’t know any. These are the fans who dress Father Christmas in blue, who boycott Carlsberg and are probably responsible for the near extinction of red squirrels.
They are as proudly bitter as they come. And now their star signing has turned up with Liverpool’s club anthem tattooed across his chest!
Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.