Should Adam Lallana's Lack of Goals be a Concern?

Should Adam Lallana's Lack of Goals be a Concern?

It’s considered the norm these days for Liverpool players to divide fan opinion. Reds manager Jurgen Klopp was supposed to unite a fractured fanbase but if you scan Twitter you’ll find fans squabbling over players. There are consequences to not rating a player. You could state in December you think x player is okay but can be upgraded and then when they score in May you get people retweeting your five month old tweet and calling you delusional. It’s always fun.

Should Adam Lallana's Lack of Goals be a Concern

There are a lot of underlying factors when they judge a player. Did this player sign for a manager they didn’t like? Was their fee more than you would’ve paid? Where there cheaper alternative options out there at the time? If there’s even a sniff that you feel the answer to one of those is yes then you have an agenda against the player and your opinion of them means very little on Twitter. Even if you raise valid concerns over a player it’s overlooked.

Take for example Adam Lallana. I wasn’t too pleased when he signed for £23 million in the summer of 2014 from Southampton. I thought it was £10 million overpriced. However, he doesn’t set his transfer fee so that shouldn’t be a factor when judging him, should it? Towards the end of the Rodgers reign he seemed to be doing interviews every other day so by default you associate Lallana with Rodgers, and this can sway some people when judging the former. Were cheaper alternatives out there at the time? Almost certainly.

I think all of that and yet I’m capable of saying under Klopp his performances have improved, but is that a by product of the team looking organised and more fluid so Lallana is looking better when in fact he’s performing the same as he always was? That’s another debate in itself. The Liverpool number 20 seems to have struck up a partnership with our Brazilians, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino, and he’s played a key role in the big wins against both Chelsea and Manchester City. He seems to be involved with the attacks on a regular basis, which is why it shocked me to see in the calendar year of 2015 (this is written just after the Swansea match) he’d scored a single Premier League goal, against Crystal Palace in Steven Gerrard’s last Anfield game.

This from a player that’s primarily an attacking midfielder and has also played as a false 9.

I don’t put much weight into the assists stat these days but for those who do Adam Lallana has four Premier League assists according to whoscored.com. This includes the fortunate assist against Crystal Palace a few weeks back which I’d consider extremely generous. This stat also doesn’t factor in how Lallana has created space and goals with his off the ball movement.

A closer look reveals Lallana has featured 37 times for Liverpool in the league scoring 5 goals and playing 2480 minutes which equates to 27.5 full matches. This means he averages a goal every 496 minutes (1 goal every 5.5 matches). He then gets an assist every 6.8 games.

Philippe Coutinho, in the same period, has played 47 league games which comes to a total of 3785 minutes, (roughly 42 full games) he has 10 goals to his name and 8 assists. Our number 10 averages a goal every 378 minutes which works out to be a goal every 4.2 games and an assist every 5.2 games.

Looking at the stats side by side you see Lallana needs 1.3 more games for every goal he scores and 1.6 more games for every assist he manages. Coutinho’s critics label him as inconsistent and not contributing enough and yet he still dwarfs Lallana’s numbers.

This isn’t a Lallana vs Coutinho debate, the Coutinho stats are included to add some context to the Lallana numbers. It’s clear both have different instructions and both have very different traits but looking at it optionally both are attacking midfielders. In a Jurgen Klopp side the attacking midfielders have to contribute in the goals column of the table as well as working off of the ball. It’s no good doing one without the other.

During his time at Dortmund there was an emphasis on being an attacking unit and not just relying on the striker.

2010/11

Player Number of league goals scored
Shinji Kagawa 8
Mario Goetze 8
Kevin Grosskreutz 8
Robert Lewandowski 8
Lucas Barrios 16

Goals from attacking midfielders: 24

2011/12

Player Number of league goals scored
Shinji Kagawa 12
Kevin Grosskreutz 7
Kuba 4
Ivan Perisic 5
Mario Goetze 5
Robert Lewandowski 22

Goals from attacking midfielders: 33

2012/13

Player Number of league goals scored
Kevin Grosskreutz 2
Ivan Perisic (left) 2
Mario Goetze 10
Kuba 11
Marco Reus 14
Robert Lewandowski 24

Goals from attacking midfielders: 39

2013/14

Player Number of league goals scored
Jonas Hoffman 2 in 4 games
Milos Jojic 4 in 14 games
Kuba 2
Mkhitaryan 9
Aubameyang 13
Marco Reus 16
Robert Lewandowski 20

Goals from attacking midfielders: 46

Goals from midfield are a key part of Klopp’s tactics, if you aren’t contributing it must surely be a matter of time before you lose your position in the team?

Since Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers, Adam Lallana has played 508 minutes and managed 1 assist, Phil Coutinho has appeared in 417 minutes scoring 4 goals and getting 1 assist and Roberto Firmino has amassed 265 league minutes scoring 1 and assisting 2 goals. Adam Lallana is the only one not to score as of yet.

Ignoring his fee, his affiliation with Rodgers and your previous thoughts on Lallana, is one Premier League goal in 2015 good enough? His performances may have improved under Klopp, he may be the third muskateer to Coutinho and Firmino, Klopp is certainly making the most of his energy by having him involved in plenty of the pressing actions but without adding goals to his game is it just a matter of when and not if he loses his place in the starting XI?

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*Insert picture of Gerrard kissing the camera at Old Trafford here*

Comments

10 responses to “Should Adam Lallana’s Lack of Goals be a Concern?”

  1. James Lambert says:

    I understand your point but, as long as the team is playing as a unit and progressing, I don’t really care where the goals come from. Of course,he’s no John Wark but, AL is contributing a lot under Klopp. You are right, the stats (which, frankly, I never trust in such a fluid sport as football) do not show the great runs off the ball, and clever ‘dummies’ which create so much space for our other two Hogwarts alumni. I think Lallana, like Milner, is also a little under-appreciated in the amount of work he actually does for the team. I agree though, always room for improvement. I think he’s got couple of smashing goals in the Europa, and he knocked a few in for Saints, so I think he’s worth persevering with. Actually, I know, the amount of touches he takes annoys people but sometimes, on a purely aesthetic level, his skills can be sublime – not often enough I know. I suppose the schizophrenic nature of this reply probably sums Adam Lallana up quite well. Of course there are better players out there but aren’t there always? On Redmen, they like to think he’ll become the Yossi Benayoun of this team, a few more goals in the league and they could be right. Nice article by the way Sam, enjoyed it.

  2. Jeff says:

    Lallana has been a flop, and a very expensive one at that. Not good enough in any department; pushing 28, plays everything and one goal in 2015 is beyond disgraceful. I think he dislodged Andy Carroll and is now our worst ever signing. No wonder Rodgers is gone.

    • Sean says:

      “worse signing ever” is a bit harsh imo. Puts in a great shift for the team, and is premier league, if not LFC, quality (more than you can say for some other signings). Reckon we persevere for rest of season then see whether we sell and sign a replacement/promote Ibe or keep

    • James Lambert says:

      I agree. He’s like Milner, in that you miss him when he’s not there. I honestly think he’s been really good under Klopp so far and will hopefully only get better. When did 27 become ‘old age’ by the way?

  3. OzRed says:

    I think we’re seeing the best of Lallana now and I’m confident that those stats are going to improve markedly if he strings together games with Coutinho and Firmino. That trio were magical together.
    His shooting does let him down, though

  4. perry says:

    Am I the only one that rates Lallana? I think he’s one of the most consistent players in the team, what he lacks in goals he 100% makes up for with his intelligent build up play and off the ball defensive work.

    • James Lambert says:

      No mate, I’m totally with you. I always like players that really give their all for Liverpool and I think he has real talent. Klopp will make him more effective overall I’m sure. 🙂

  5. Dan says:

    Lallana is ideally a squad player for Liverpool.

    • James Lambert says:

      You could well be right Dan but that’s no insult as today’s football is such a squad-orientated beast anyway I think.

  6. Sherlock says:

    Sam “Lallana hater” McGuire is back Ladies and Gentlemen…. with another article to show his immense love, i mean hate for a guy who works his socks off, yet goes unnoticed…. Sammy really hates that guy

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Published by Anfield Index
Updated: 2015-12-01 08:07:21
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