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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Lallana stakes a claim

Raheem Sterling was awarded the man of the match tonight after a terrific performance that deserved recognition but he was not the only star performer in a Liverpool team that overcame Bournemouth 3-1.

Two goals from Sterling and Markovic’s first goal as a Liverpool player were enough to see off the Championship leaders Bournemouth for whom former Everton man Dan Gosling scored their only goal. After no win in three games this win comes at an important time and Liverpool will hope the win can carry on at the weekend when Arsenal come to visit Anfield.

Although he didn’t get on the score-sheet Adam Lallana was particularly impressive for Brendan Rodgers’ side assisting Sterling’s second goal and proving and all round nuisance for the Bournemouth defence, Lallana’s deft touch and quick feet saw him stand out as a star performer in what looked a revitalised Liverpool side.

Of course Bournemouth are no Arsenal but Lallana was key to almost every attack and caused them countless problems, his great vision was evident throughout as he ran things in the Liverpool attack while his composure on the ball helped calm things down as Bournemouth began to press and ask questions of the Liverpool defence. Lallana, who has been in and out of the starting line up this season, will be hoping that this performance will be enough for Rodgers to include him in the team for Sunday’s massive encounter.

Having signed in the summer from Southampton for around £20 million it is maybe about time Rodgers gave the Englishman a consistent role in the team to prove his worth, he has thus far started nine Premier League games scoring 2 goals in the process, a decent return compared to his other midfield compatriots.

It has been a major annoyance with the fans this season when Rodgers has opted not to play the attacking midfielder from the start of games and on some occasions he has decided against bringing Lallana on when the Merseysiders have been chasing a goal but tonight’s performance may have at the very least secured him a place in the team for the weekend.

Lallana and Sterling were not the only strong performers for Liverpool on the night, Markovic probably had his best game so far in a Liverpool shirt threatening down the left wing every time he was given the ball, while as a team their passing was incredibly precise with 39 passes leading up to Sterling’s opening goal, this may have been helped by the nature of the opposition but nonetheless Liverpool performed very well finishing the game with 56% possession.

Sterling up front now looks like a great option for Rodgers after his performance and the trio of Markovic, Couthino and Lallana worked very well and could be the key for Liverpool going forward. Unfortunately for Rodgers they managed to draw Chelsea in the semi-final’s but that will be the least of his concerns at the moment as Liverpool try to re-find their Premier League form starting this Sunday against Arsenal.

photo credit: Ben Sutherland via photopin cc