For all that Adam Lallana appreciates the playing talent of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it was a moment off the pitch that told him everything he needed to know about the new Liverpool No.21.
“I remember him coming in and it was quite a grown-up thing to do, he was only 17 or 18, he said in front of all the lads ‘Listen, I’ve had a great opportunity,’” recalls the midfielder, referencing an occasion in 2011.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was set to move to Arsenal, from Southampton, after teaming up with Lallana as the south coast club began their rise through two divisions to the Premier League.
And with maturity beyond his teenage years, the soon-to-be 18-year-old offered an unprompted, personal explanation to his teammates.
“He wished us all the best. Part of him was sad that he couldn’t stay; we had a great squad there and that’s when we did back-to-back promotions to the Premier League,” Lallana tells Liverpoolfc.com.
“I thought that was a really mature thing to say at such a young age. I’ve always taken notice of how he does. Even watching him against us in the 4-0 win, part of me was thinking his attributes would be great in our team. And a week or so later, he’s a Red.
“He has taken Lucas’ spot next to me in the changing room. That was always going to be a difficult spot to fill but he does it justice.
“He’s a great lad and I’m really looking forward to working with him. I’ve obviously played with him for England, Southampton and now Liverpool.”
An impression was obviously made on the pitch, too, as Lallana successfully remembers every detail of his younger teammate’s debut for the Saints in March 2010.
“Huddersfield Town. At home in midweek. We were four or five nil up. Alan Pardew brought him on.”
Lallana was continuing his rehabilitation from a thigh injury at Melwood on transfer deadline day when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s switch to the Reds was completed.
Once the deal was done, some suggested that the 24-year-old could emulate his former Saints colleague in blossoming significantly under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp.
The new signing certainly believes he can, explaining at length the appeal of working with the Liverpool manager when he conducted his first official interview with the club this week.
And Lallana agrees.
“I think it’s a great signing for Liverpool. Just as much as it’s good for us, I think it will be good for him as well – he wants to develop as a player,” he notes.
“Coming to Liverpool to play with the group of lads we’ve got, and the manager we’ve got, will enhance his game and take his game to another level.
“It’s a great environment to be around. He can play in numerous positions as well, similar to me.
“I just think the way the team plays suits him, with his power and his speed, combined with the ability he has got. The kind of full-throttle football that the manager wants us to play, he’ll be a fantastic addition and give us options – which is something we didn’t have at stages last season.
“We want to progress and ultimately win something. You can’t do that with 11, 12 or 13 players, you need a squad. The squad looks big and full of quality. It’s exciting times.”
LFCTV GO: Oxlade-Chamberlain's first day at Melwood
Lallana has sadly had to watch from the sidelines, of course, as Liverpool have made a hugely encouraging start to the new season.
The thigh problem he sustained in the Audi Cup final against Atletico Madrid on the second day of August means the influential Englishman won’t feature until later in the year.
In the meantime, Klopp’s men have accrued seven points from their opening three Premier League games – including a swashbuckling 4-0 rout of Arsenal – and booked their place in the Champions League group stage by defeating Hoffenheim over two legs.
Injury hasn’t hampered Lallana’s enjoyment of the Reds’ form either.
“I get right into it, watching. I’m not one that can sit there motionless,” he reveals.
“I had to be a bit careful; I was on my crutches and had my brace on. Me, Flanno and Ingsy were sat close to each other. Hoffenheim, we were 3-0 up after 20 minutes. Arsenal finished 4-0 and was magnificent, we blew them away.”
The level of the team’s performances would be inspiration enough for Lallana to make a prompt return, but seeing Jordan Henderson settle back into the side so smoothly has provided further motivation.
The Liverpool captain’s 2016-17 season was derailed by a foot injury that denied the midfielder a chance to play from mid-February onwards.
But Henderson reclaimed his position at the beginning of the new term, giving a balanced base to the centre of Klopp’s system which helps those ahead of him to flourish.
“He has been like a man possessed since he has been back,” notes Lallana.
“It is great seeing him do so well after suffering such a frustrating back end to last season. It shows how you can come back if you do things properly. That’s what I’m aiming to do.”
While there is no timescale for Lallana’s comeback as yet, the No.20 happily reports that his recovery from injury is ‘going as well as it can’.
Understandably, the attacker is eager to return before the club’s Champions League group stage campaign concludes – which he hopes can be the case.
Having experienced disappointment in the competition during his debut season with the Reds in 2014, he admits there is a point to prove against Europe’s elite this time around.
“That’s a fair comment,” he says.
“Our record is there against the top teams and it’s also fair to say we’ll fancy ourselves in the Champions League. I’ll miss the first few games but I’m sure the lads will put us into a great position. Hopefully I’ll be back for the last three of the group stages possibly.”