Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has advised teammate Adam Lallana to study Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong in order to win back a regular starting berth at Anfield.
A string of frustrating injuries has seen the former Southampton man go from being a pivotal member of Jurgen Klopp’s starting lineup to watching from the outside, subsequently putting his Anfield future in jeopardy.
Lallana’s positional evolution: Five key things to know…
- Adam Lallana joined Liverpool in 2014 from Southampton.
- He initially played as an attacking midfielder before gradually turning into a number eight.
- A string of injuries saw him lose a regular starting berth under Klopp.
- Lallana played as a number six during pre-season but has hardly featured in this campaign.
- Teammate and club captain Henderson has advised him to study Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong.
Lallana, nominally a midfielder that enjoys playing behind the centre-forward, has slightly adjusted his game, becoming a number eight, but feels he needs to evolve further to offer the Reds something different.
During pre-season, Klopp fielded him as a number six but he’s yet to be deployed there in this campaign so far and fellow midfielder Henderson has suggested he use the recently named Uefa ‘Best Midfielder’ De Jong as a reference.
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“I’m still waiting to get a chance there. That may, or may not, come, but it definitely interests me,” he told the Times.
“I find it very stimulating because I get more of the ball than I have ever had in my career before. Sometimes as a No.8 you are making decoy runs, or you are offering and you don’t get the ball.
“Whereas if you are in the ‘six’ you are centralised to the play, involved in the build-up a lot more. That is what I noticed straight away. That’s where the stimulation comes from — it feels good to be on the ball.”
“I have not gone into it too deeply. Jordan [Henderson] told me I need to watch Frenkie de Jong. The way he plays it, he kind of dribbles a little bit more than other sixes would, which obviously brings a bit of risk but that is in my game,” he added.
“I do watch the six more so now than what the eight does because I know that reasonably well. What are their movements like?
“I’ve found myself focusing on Fabinho a little bit in our first games and he has played it outstandingly well.”
The Reds face Newcastle on Saturday.