Belfast Telegraph

Transformed Adam Lallana the main man in Liverpool revival

Liverpool 5 Hull City 1

By Simon Hughes

When Jürgen Klopp emerges each morning from the front door of his home on the tree-lined street in Formby dubbed locally as 'Millionaires Row,' the first person he is likely to see from work is his next door neighbour, Adam Lallana.

Lallana says the relationship is as it should be between manager and player, reiterating what others have said about Klopp: that he is a friend but certainly not a best friend.

If there is one person who symbolises Klopp's Liverpool, though, it is Lallana. In the same way Pep Guardiola's management at Manchester City has helped inspire Raheem Sterling to reach the level of performance that convinced City to take him from Liverpool, Lallana's transformation under Klopp's guidance has been remarkable.

Lallana had a role in three of Liverpool's five goals against Hull City on Saturday and again, when asked about the midfielder's emergence as a key figure, Klopp tried his best to shine a light on those who are not talked about quite as much by nestling reminders in his response. "Look how Hendo played…" he said, "…a lot of people were pretty sure he cannot play a holding [role]."

If there is one undisputed truth about Klopp it is that he does not like to praise individuals while others are in the mood to do so, even if it reflects well on his coaching. His method is from the old school of picking them up when they're down while keeping them hungry for more when they're up.

Listen to Klopp regularly enough and you appreciate quickly that team ethic comes before anything else. It is a significant fact, indeed, that of the six players chosen by Klopp in midfield and attack against Hull - and in every other league match this season - only Sadio Mané is being used in what he considers his natural position.

Though Lallana has been able to express himself creatively within the framework of the 4-3-3 set-up that Klopp has used at Liverpool, he is being placed towards the right of the centre because Klopp believes he has the diligence and intelligence to help Liverpool achieve positive results while playing there.

It was put to Klopp that despite the first half pulverisation of Hull, which also included goals from Mané and Milner, he was not entirely satisfied. David Meyler's consolation reminded Klopp that his team is yet to keep a clean sheet. Philippe Coutinho and then another Milner penalty kick made sure the scoreline reflected the proceedings.

Klopp was quick to remind anyone getting too excited about Liverpool's current form that a football season is a marathon rather than a sprint.

"We are far away from Christmas now and after Christmas there's January, February, March, April, May and then it stops, right?

"So it's a long, long, long race and I never saw in any race that if you have to run 20km that after 5km you are like this [hands in the air celebrating].

"I'm happy with the performance and I know about the need to carry on and keep on going. I'm fine, but I know there's a lot of work to do still."


Liverpool: Karius, Clyne, Wijnaldum, Milner, Coutinho (Grujic, 73 mins), Firmino, Henderson (Can, 73 mins), Klavan, Mane, Lallana (Sturridge, 69 mins), Matip. Unused subs: Mignolet, Moreno, Origi, Lucas.

Hull: Marshall, Elmohamady, Davies, Livermore, Robertson, Clucas, Mason (Henriksen, 73 mins), Huddlestone (Maguire, 46 mins), Snodgrass, Diomande (Meyler, 32 mins), Hernandez. Unused subs: Jakupovic, Maloney, Mbokani, Keane.

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: James Milner

Match rating: 8/10

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