What does the signing of Mo Salah mean for Adam Lallana?

With the Egyptian winger coming in for big money, what does that mean for one of Liverpool's stand-out players from last season?

What does the signing of Mo Salah mean for Adam Lallana?
Above: Liverpool's Adam Lallana competes with Lionel Messi of Barcelona during a 4-0 friendly victory over the Spanish side at Wembley in August 2016 (Picture credit: Anadolu Agency, Getty Images)

Liverpool officially announced the signing of Egyptian winger Mo Salah last night, after weeks of discussions between AS Roma and his new club.

The much-anticipated signing of Salah is exactly the type of player that Liverpool need to progress and one which they have failed to attract too often in the past, in that he will put pressure on those in the first eleven immediately.

With Philippe Coutinho expected to move back into midfield and the number eight role, Salah will vacate his position in the front three, meaning the pressure is on the likes of Adam Lallana to step up.

The immediate response might be to disregard Lallana as the one who will be moved to the bench, but that is not necessarily the case.

Where does this move leave Lallana?

The England international was one of Liverpool's best players last season and was a serious contender for the club’s player of the year award, which was ultimately won by Sadio Mane. He was his country’s player of the year for 2016 and has firmly established as a key component of Liverpool's team under Jurgen Klopp.

With many more matches to play next season, Lallana will not be able to play them all and will find himself on the bench sometimes, but then so will every other player. Rotation between matches now Liverpool have European football – the Champions League should they win their qualifying tie, or the Europa League if not – will be vital. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hypothetically speaking, if Liverpool played Porto away on a Wednesday night, and then had Burnley at home in the Saturday lunchtime slot, the chances of the same midfield being picked for both games with such a quick turnaround are very slim.

With Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Gini Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and potentially another midfield signing to come, Jurgen Klopp could field two completely different midfields across the two games in theory, with little difference in quality such is the depth of the squad.

Injuries mean that Lallana will still very much be counted on, and whilst he may no longer be an automatic pick, he will still be able to play a big role in the way Liverpool play.

He is a Klopp favourite and is fundamental to Liverpool's pressing, demonstrated by when he was out injured for a period last season, Liverpool struggled without him. The energy and quality on the ball he provides can be matched by no other Liverpool player.

Even if Salah’s arrival means Coutinho playing deeper, there is no reason why both cannot play in the same midfield. In fact, in the penultimate game of last season at West Ham, they did exactly that to good effect, with Liverpool winning 4-0. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pep Guardiola deployed David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne just ahead of Fernandinho on many occasions in the Premier League for Manchester City, which would be a similar system with Coutinho and Lallana being two attacking players for Liverpool, proving it can be done. Especially against a lesser team at home, when Liverpool need as much creativity on the pitch at once as possible to break down a packed defence, playing both could be very beneficial.

Signing Naby Keita or someone similar for a substantial figure of potentially more than £50 million would further complicate the situation (and even that would not be fatal), but the signing of Mo Salah should have little impact on Adam Lallana.

He would always have been aware that making the Champions League means a deeper squad and more competition, but there are also more games. If anything, more competition should make him, and the other members of the squad, an even better player.

Just like any other Liverpool player, Lallana will sometimes have to be an impact substitute, but he can still expect to be in the starting eleven on a regular basis.

Rewind back to this time last year, when Sadio Mane was signed for a similar fee to Salah, and Adam Lallana was doubted then too. He responded the following season with by far the best campaign of his career, scoring eight goals and providing seven assists in the league in a new midfield role, and there is no reason he cannot kick on again now. He has proven people wrong once, and could easily do the same again.

Salah is a hugely important signing for Liverpool, but it will not mean the end of Lallana. Exciting times lie ahead for both. 

Liverpool FC