It’s universally acknowledged that Adam Lallana’s maiden season with Liverpool was anything but an unbridled success.
Injuries and a lack of form restricted the England schemer’s involvement following his £25m move from Southampton.
His first-team prospects have grown ever murkier following another summer of serious spending from Brendan Rodgers and his fellow transfer committee members.
Both James Milner and Roberto Firmino can operate in the advanced-midfield berths Lallana will be hoping to establish himself in next season, but despite this influx of arrivals, the Reds are best advised to reserve a spot for the 27-year-old.
Priced at 2/1 to finish in the top-four this season, Liverpool missed out on Champions League football in 2015/16 thanks to a chronic lack of goals, seeing their tally drop to 52 from the 102 struck a year earlier.
Despite the hokey-kokey nature of his campaign, Lallana still managed to contribute five Premier League strikes and assist a further three.
It’s a respectable contribution equating to direct involvement in over 15% of their net-bulging quota last time around.
When it’s considered many of the fixtures in which he featured last season were spent regaining match fitness, this return looks even more impressive, but it’s not just his involvement in goals that underlines Lallana’s importance.
Looking at the 33 games in which he appeared, Liverpool’s win percentage stands at 50%, falling to 38% in the 26 from which he was omitted.
The Reds also lost more games in his absence too – 38% without compared to a meagre 22% with.
Only Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho, who both started considerably more league games, mustered more assists than Lallana, while Mario Balotelli is the solo member of the current party able best his average of 1.5 free kicks won per match last term.