Adam Lallana’s Liverpool career appears to be in it’s final throes.
Signed in the ill fated summer of 2014, the 31 year old’s Anfield career — despite being a favourite of both the coaches he’s worked with, Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp — has been hampered by a spate of injuries.
And now, with the attacking midfielder’s contract dwindling down, it appears likely that his time with the Reds is coming to an end.
According to the well connected David Lynch of the Evening Standard, Lallana — with Klopp unable to offer the regular football he wants — will move to pastures new this summer upon the expiration of his Liverpool contract.
The Reds’ Premier League rivals’, Leicester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, have been credited with an interest in the England international, whose consistent injury woes have seen him only make nine league appearances over the last two seasons.
Despite his injury induced lack of action, the Cruyff turning, ambidextrous midfielder will need to replaced in the squad if and when he does leave the club.
Liverpool’s excellent scouting network as well as their increasingly fertile youth system means the European Champions can replace Lallana with the minimum out financial outlay.
Below, we look at the options the Reds could turn to replace their number 20.
As well as Finnish hitman Temu Pukki and the extravagant goal celebrator Todd Cantwell, Norwich City’s standout player in their first Premier League season after promotion has been diminutive Argentinian midfielder, Emi Buendia.
Both on and off the ball, the 23 year old has been effective even though his team has struggled and look certainties to be relegated come the end of the season.
With seven assists, Buendia has been a bountiful source of creativity, but — perhaps more importantly for a high pressing Klopp team — the former Getafe player has excelled defensively in pressing scenarios.
With 2.4 successful tackles per game as well as 0.8 interceptions, Buendia is well accustomed to playing and, indeed, thriving in a pressing system not too dissimilar to the one employed at Anfield.
With former Liverpool employee Stuart Webber now the sporting director at Carrow Road, the Norwich number 17 is sure to be someone those in the corridors of power at the English champions elect are aware of.
With the Canaries likely relegation, the former Argentina U20 international could be available at a discount price — quite like Xherdan Shaqiri when he arrived from Stoke in the summer of 2018 — and could well be a canny purchase for the reigning European champions.
Closer to home, Curtis Jones, the 19 year old academy produced midfielder, could fill the Lallana void in the squad.
Jones has already woven himself into Anfield history, as his sweetly struck outside the box shot condemned Everton to third round F.A. Cup elimination against a Liverpool team comprised almost entirely of youth players last month.
Standing 6’0, the England under 19 international has the scope to bulk up physically, which — allied to his pace and rounded technical skillset — could see him become a beacon of dominance in the engine room.
Versatile, having played in the first team off the right in a front three, as a number 10 or as an 8 in a midfield three, Jones is capable of playing in a number of roles. But perhaps the midfielders standout attribute is his gumption and, as Klopp described it, cheekiness.
Often young players attempting to forge a path into a first team squad will play a conservative game, with the fear of messing up and making mistakes paralysing their natural instincts.
Not Jones, though, who isn’t afraid to err in his attempts to score and make things happen. Take the aforementioned goal against Everton, for example.
The youngest captain in the clubs history — an honour that was bestowed upon him in the Reds’ recent F.A. Cup fourth round replay victory over Shrewsbury at Anfield — showed no inhibition in trying to make his marks on a game as big as a Merseyside derby.
Collecting the ball after an incisive one two with Divock Origi, Jones curled an unstoppable drive — which kissed the crossbar on the way in — past Jordan Pickford and into the Anfield Road goal.
With a lack of fear underpinning a strong set of physical and technical attributes, the Toxteth native could well be an effective Lallana replacement next season and, going forward, a legitimate week in, week out starting option.