It was the enduring image of Jurgen Klopp’s first game as the manager of Liverpool; a photograph that captured an exhausted Adam Lallana collapsing into the arms of the towering German after 81 minutes of ‘full throttle’ football.
Only the picture was a little misleading. ‘As I came off I went to slap his hand and he went in for the hug, so I thought I’d better lean in,’ says Lallana with a smile. ‘Because he’s so tall my head just seemed to go into his chest.’
He said he was actually feeling rather good as he walked towards his new boss. Sure, the statistics suggested he had just run himself into the ground. But he left the field exhilarated, a rush of adrenalin masking any fatigue he might have been enduring.
Adam Lallana pictured at Liverpool academy to promote Puma’s Forever Faster campaign this week
The Liverpool midfielder has been impressed with new manager Jurgen Klopp since he took charge
This was the enduring image of Klopp’s first game as the manager of Liverpool as Lallana is replaced at White Hart Lane against Tottenham last Saturday
‘I had an injury issue earlier in the season and that was probably the best I’ve felt both in a game and after a game,’ he says. ‘I saw the stats saying how we’d worked harder and so on. But from my point of view it just felt good. It felt cohesive.
‘We were fighting for each other out there, perhaps to a different degree. And, as the manager said, it laid a foundation we can build on.’
After the Tottenham game, Klopp was asked about Liverpool’s more creative players, Lallana among them. He gave them full marks for effort but suggested there was more to come in other areas. In Lallana’s case he said he hoped for a ‘20 to 30 per cent’ improvement based on what he had seen from the midfielder in the past at Southampton.