Date published: Friday 13th September 2019 1:41
Adam Lallana admits that being left out of the matchday squad for Liverpool’s first game of the season against Norwich was an “eye-opener”.
The 31-year-old’s contract expires next summer, but the midfielder says he is not worried by the lack of security despite being shocked at missing out against the Canaries.
Liverpool won the opening game 4-1 with a strong bench made up of Sadio Mane, Joel Matip, Naby Keita, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Since then Lallana has played only four minutes in the Premier League – as a sub in the win over Arsenal.
Despite his lack of game time so far the former Southampton man is not concerned and told The Times: “Worry is the wrong word.
“Of course, you think ahead and like to plan to a degree. I love it here. But I’m not obsessing about my future. Being as fit as I can, and working as hard as I can, is at the forefront of my mind. The rest will take care of itself.
“I feel happy. I feel fit and strong. If I want to be part of this team, the best team in Europe, I need to keep improving and developing and that is what I have found difficult over the last two years because I have not been able to show that. I can’t be the same player, I need to be better because the team is better.
“I didn’t make the squad for the first game of the season [against Norwich City] and that was a bit of an eye-opener. I didn’t see that happening. I hadn’t experienced that since I was growing up at Southampton.
“But it is a 60-game season and I look at my last couple of seasons and think just be patient, be persistent and eventually my chance will come.
“If I am fit, I am sure I will contribute in a big way.”
Lallana, who signed a new contract in February 2017, has bit plagued by injury over the last 18 months and he says he has struggled to come to terms with being sidelined.
He added: “It got to the point where I said to the medical team to make my schedule opposite to the rest of the boys, so I didn’t need to act as if everything was ok in front of them anymore.
“If they came in in the morning, I did afternoon sessions. I felt I was going to be back for the business end of the season [in 2018-19]: semi-finals, going for the league. The rotation for matches was there. So that was a big, big blow.
“There were loads of periods during last season when I was sad and angry, not at anyone in particular, just at the situation. I was continually battling to contribute, to be dependable to my team-mates because when you get injured, it is almost, not a sign of weakness, but you are not able to do your job fundamentally.
“At times, my insecurities were real. How am I going to get back into the team? I felt like I was climbing a ladder that was never-ending at times. Sometimes I was taking a step back but the team was taking two forward.”