Lallana: I was trying too hard
Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana admits he tried too hard to impress in his attempts to settle in at Anfield.
The 26-year-old, currently with England preparing for their Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Slovenia, has struggled to replicate the form which saw the Reds pay Southampton in the region of £25million for his services in the summer.
He was hampered by a knee injury in pre-season which delayed his introduction into the side until mid-September and - while he has shown occasional flashes of what he is capable of - he admits he has come up short so far.
"I always knew it was going to be difficult settling in, especially with the injury," he told Liverpool's official magazine.
"Playing for a new club the size of Liverpool and having Champions League football - you need to be tough mentally.
"I was so desperate to do well, maybe trying a bit too hard to impress, not doing things that I'd normally do, thinking about things maybe a bit too much.
"You can't always expect to be at your best straight away. When you've been away for seven or eight weeks the pitch feels a bit different when you step back on it for the first time.
"It's a case of getting your head down, working hard and doing the things that have made you successful before to get back to a level where you can affect matches.
"Gradually, the more games I've played and the more minutes I've accumulated, my form has improved and I'm getting closer to the levels I was at last season for Southampton.
"There's still an improvement to be made but I'm getting there."
Another player who has put in the effort after being told he had no future at Anfield is Fabio Borini.
The Italy forward was the subject of bids by QPR and Sunderland - where he spent last season on loan - in August but rejected them in order to fight for his place in the squad despite manager Brendan Rodgers making it clear pitch time would be limited.
Borini believes his decision has been vindicated after starting at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid last week, one of two 90-minute performances in the last four games with a couple of substitute appearances in between.
"I think that when I was called upon to play, I did well against Real Madrid or against Chelsea, when we were down and we needed to chase the game," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"It's not an easy way to get in, but it's good to be involved and I hope I get more [chances].
"In training I work hard every day so I've got the game rhythm every day and it's easy for me to get into the game, like I showed against Swansea (in the Capital One Cup late last month).
"I had been out for six weeks and then I came in and played 90 minutes and was fine."
Borini may find his chances will be limited again with the impending return of Daniel Sturridge, who has not played for the club since August 31 because of thigh and calf injuries, but is in line for a comeback at Crystal Palace a week on Sunday.
Without his threat up front Liverpool have struggled with £16million summer signing Mario Balotelli still to find the net in the Premier League.
Rodgers has spoken of the importance of not over-relying on the England striker but former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher cannot see any other option.
"He has been out for while so you don't want to put too much pressure on him, but it looks like it is down to him because there is not much else there at the moment," he told talkSPORT.
"Hopefully when this international break is out the way we will start seeing the real Liverpool.
"We have to start picking it up because, before you know it, Southampton (11 points ahead in second place) might even be too far ahead, never mind the other top teams."