Adam Lallana Should be Worried about Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool Return


Daniel Sturridge has finally declared himself fit for Liverpool’s upcoming clash against Manchester City on Saturday. Most at Anfield are rejoicing at the return of the talented attacker, but one English international might secretly be disappointed. The return of Daniel Sturridge may push Adam Lallana to the bench.

While Sturridge’s prefers to play up top as a striker, the presence of Christian Benteke in the Liverpool lineup makes that impossible. Benteke might not be the ideal fit for Jurgen Klopp’s high press, but he’s too talented as a stand-alone forward to leave out. He also can only fit in Klopp’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation as a striker. Sturridge has the ability to play as a wide attacking midfielder which means he’ll be on the move.

With Benteke established as the main striker, it leaves Klopp with curious decisions on who to play in his three-man attacking midfield. Sturridge’s high energy style makes him an ideal candidate to take up one of the wide spots. What the returning attacker lacks in skill, he generally makes up for with effort and willingness to run. He’ll fit in perfectly for Klopp on the wing.

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That leaves two spots left for selection. I can’t imagine that Philippe Coutinho will be dropped from his number 10 position at this juncture in the season. He’s starting to come on for Klopp and has been the Reds’ best player since the German arrived. While he’s fit and in-form he’s a virtual lock to hold down that central attacking spot.

That only leaves one attacking midfield spot open for debate. English international Adam Lallana would hope to fill the last spot, but he is a curious fit. It’s not that he can’t play out wide, but he lacks the raw pace that Klopp would generally prefer in that role. His skill set clearly makes him more suited to play in the middle, but Coutinho has a justified stranglehold on that role.

Lallana will be hard pressed to win this spot over fellow Englishman James Milner. Milne has quite simply out performed Lallana on the pitch this season. He has scored more goals, notched more assists and has a significantly better Whoscored player rating than Lallana. There isn’t a shred of statistical evidence that would support Lallana’s selection.

Even if Milner isn’t a factor, Klopp still has other options he may choose over Lallana. Jordan Ibe is a more natural fit out wide for example and even Roberto Firmino might provide a more dynamic presence out on the wing. Lallana certainly compares more favorably to those two options than Milner, but he isn’t a lock to be chosen ahead of them either.

In all likelihood, regular squad rotation and fitness issues will keep Adam Lallana in the Liverpool lineup more often than not. The return of Daniel Sturridge does make his selection more tenuous than ever before. Lallana might be the only Liverpool man not overjoyed with Sturridge’s return to fitness.