Mauricio Pochettino has hailed barely-used Liverpool player Adam Lallana as a brilliant footballer.
In an interview with Joe, the Tottenham manager drooled over the attacking midfielder and used the example of the player’s time at Southampton as how individual players all need to be managed differently.
“When we arrived there, we watched all the analysis videos of him and it was ‘phwoar! What a player!’. But why was he always injured? We needed to do some assessments,” Pochettino.
The former Southampton manager and his backroom team arrived at the conclusion that Lallana’s training schedule and his game were at odds with each other.
“One day, we called him in and said ‘ok, we’ve looked at why you’re having all these issues and we have created a special plan for you to follow. If you trust and you do it, this is how we see your role for us,’” Pochettino remembers to Joe. “He was so determined to follow it, he was so professional. Adam was our best player that season.”
Perhaps in any other Premier League team other than title chasers Liverpool or Manchester City, Lallana would be the playmaker-in-chief, the man charged with unlocking the key to opposition defences.
He has personally had two consecutive dispiriting seasons at Anfield after previously being an integral member of the side, mainly a consequence of a series of niggling and serious injuries.
Lallana has made just three Premier League starts this season and struggled to find a way back into the side despite Jurgen Klopp claiming a month ago he is now in top condition and would have a big role to play in the title run-in.
Lallana was a late substitute in the 5-0 midweek demolition of Watford, but he was an unused substitute in the two previous matches and there is a sense Liverpool may have moved on from their 2014 signing, who turns 31 next month. Could a parting of the ways be on the cards this summer?