MATT ADDISON COLUMN | Liverpool are badly missing Adam Lallana, and not just because of his footballing quality

Adam Lallana has been out injured with a thigh problem for over a month, having sustained the injury during the Audi Cup in pre-season, but is likely to return for his first appearance of the season after the next international break during October.

He has started running again at Melwood, and while he will not be rushed back, his return cannot come soon enough.

Lallana’s eight goals and seven assists helped Liverpool to fourth place in the league last season as he was a key man, properly coming off age for club and for country.

His pressing, balance and creativity have been sorely missed as well as his goals, and no one can doubt his ability, but another thing that often gets overlooked is his leadership qualities.


Adam Lallana is a leader and a shouter for his country, as well as for Liverpool


It is a conversation had time and time again, but Jurgen Klopp’s side do seem to lack vocal leaders.

Not since Jamie Carragher have Liverpool had a loudmouth central defender capable of moving those around him into position, and whilst there are not many of those around these days, the team often do lack players who look to do something similar.

Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are quiet and almost the opposite of Carragher; sometimes situations require someone a little more direct and demanding.

Jordan Henderson was loud and vocal with some questionable refereeing decisions from Anthony Taylor on Saturday evening at the King Power, but very few others do the same, and to be honest, it was more of an exception to the rule than something he does regularly.

James Milner often talks with the referee, but is not one to shout and instruct, and even if he did, the vice-captain is rarely on the field from the start.

Daniel Sturridge, Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum are all leaders by example, as are Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, but Liverpool need someone more vocal.

Adam Lallana – whilst no Jamie Carragher – can be one of those. He has proved it time and time again, not least when captaining Southampton, although not many would automatically associate him with shouting and cajoling his teammates.

It sometimes goes under the radar, but the number 20 is a talker, someone who leads with his mouth as much as he does by example, and every team needs players like that.

He is often the one to applaud and encourage, as well as organising those around him, and his ability on the ball allows him to be one of those who dictate the pace of the game.

Lallana cannot be the only one to lead – others must step up and do the same – but when he comes back into the side, that will at least be one more who can be a bit more of a communicator.

The debate over leadership always surfaces during difficult periods, and never when the team are playing well, but that is not to say it is not a worthwhile debate to be had.

Had Liverpool scored one more against Burnley, or had Firmino tucked away the penalty against Sevilla, perhaps the topic of leadership would never have come up, but the fact that it reappears from time to time suggests it is an issue that needs resolving.

Liverpool undoubtedly need more leaders and Lallana can help fill the void on his return, as he did before he was out.

He must not be the only one – having someone capable of organising and taking the team by the scruff of the neck in defence would be a huge help, be it a goalkeeper or someone in the backline – but he certainly can be one of a few.

Lallana is no longer new to Liverpool, and is no longer new to the Premier League. As an established player and one of the best in the country at what he does, he is not afraid of responsibility and has been an underappreciated leader for some time.

The sooner he is back in the side, the better, not just for the tangible quality that he offers, but for leadership purposes too.

Matt Addison writes a column each week for @AnfieldPress, covering all of the major talking points in the world of Liverpool FC throughout the season. Follow him on Twitter at @MattAddison97.



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