Adam Lallana's Rise Is The Most Remarkable Story In The Premier League
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Saying the words "Adam Lallana is the key to the Premier League's most high-powered offense" feels weird. It does not roll off the tongue. You think "did I just say that?" and, after a few moments, realize you did say that, and that you meant it, because it's true.
This is not a thing that seemed like it could ever be true as recently as this summer.
Here are a couple of tweets I have tweeted about Adam Lallana:
"Lallana decided on the fancy backheel, which didn't work"- evergreen statement from the announcer— Sam Klomhaus (@SamKlomhaus) August 23, 2016
Roberto Firmino: 29 million Pounds. Less playing time for Adam Lallana: priceless.— Sam Klomhaus (@SamKlomhaus) June 24, 2015
I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not take either of those things back. I also want to make it perfectly clear that they no longer apply.
Lallana's season so far has been the type of deal that usually makes announcers say the word "revelation". The announcers are usually wrong when they say this word, because the player in reference is usually from a different league and just needed time to adapt to England. This is not the case with Adam Lallana. This season, Adam Lallana has been a revelation, and I feel perfectly comfortable saying that.
Last year and the year before, every time Lallana got the ball the same thing happened: he'd do a Cruyff turn. Then he'd do another Cruyff turn. Then he'd do another Cruyff turn. Then he'd pass the ball sideways or backwards. It was maddening. Johann Cruyff would have been embarrassed to see his signature move deployed in such a manner (hell, maybe he was embarrassed, I don't know).
This year, Lallana is pressing the hell out of teams, playing one-touch football in the box and getting himself in positions to create and score goals. He has seven goals and six assists this season, equalling his goal total from last season and beating his goal total from 2014-2015 even though we're not even halfway through the Premier League season.
Somehow, Jurgen Klopp has managed to get Lallana out of his own way, using his talents to move the game along instead of slow it down.
Lallana has even been more likable off the field, starring alongside Jordan Henderson and some schoolkids in the most adorable video of 2016.
When Liverpool are in a funk, as they were Tuesday when they went down 1-0 to Stoke City, Adam Lallana is the player who gets them going again, as he did when he equalized from an extremely tight angle. Liverpool went on to win 4-1. He's become one of the Premier League's most dangerous attacking mids, alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Mesut Ozil.
Lallana's only issue right now is he can't play a full 90, although he's never really been able to do that. Which is fine, because this season 70 minutes of Adam Lallana is really all you need.