Liverpool swooped to sign Southampton captain Adam Lallana shortly after the talented playmaker had returned from the World Cup in Brazil.

The Reds succeeded in a highly competitive race to secure the signature of the sought-after attacking midfielder in July 2014, bringing in a player who has progressed from the lower reaches of the football ladder to become a senior England international.

Blessed with an innate ability to create and capitalise on chances, this is a footballer who is not merely comfortable but confident in using both feet and has a versatility that allows him to play in any and all possible midfield positions.

Born in St Albans, Lallana moved to Bournemouth as a five-year-old and took his fledgling steps towards a professional career in the game when he learned the tools of his impressive personal trade at the local club's Centre of Excellence.

Naturally, only a short amount of time had passed before nearby scouts were alerted to the young talent, and a switch to the much-vaunted Southampton academy - where the likes of Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott were nurtured - was organised in 2000.

Adam was 18 years of age when he made a maiden appearance for the Saints' first team six years later, featuring in a League Cup tie against Yeovil Town in August 2006, which was followed by his league debut within a matter of days.

From there, Lallana's development continued at youth level for club and country, although a temporary return to Bournemouth in the form of a four-match loan spell subsequently brought several opportunities to prove his ability with the seniors at St Mary's.

The playmaker was a mainstay at Southampton thereafter, and he was rewarded with Southampton's captaincy as they returned to the top flight in 2012.

England recognition seemed the logical next chapter - he would eventually turn out for the Three Lions against Chile in November 2013 - and Reds fans who had not previously been alerted to his attributes were made aware when Liverpool were turned over 3-1 and 1-0 by the Saints in March and September of the same year respectively.

By the final weeks of the recently completed season, the whole country and beyond were taking notice; nine goals and six assists in the Premier League put Lallana in the Team of the Year alongside Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, while a place on the six-man shortlist for the PFA Players' Player of the Year came as little surprise.

Midway through May 2014, Roy Hodgson named Lallana in his England squad for the World Cup, where he appeared in all three group matches and started one as the side were disappointingly eliminated before the knockout rounds.

Within days of his returning home, the Reds moved quickly to agree a deal with Southampton for the playmaker, who gleefully followed Saints teammate Rickie Lambert by completing a medical and sealing a transfer to Anfield ahead of pre-season.

The No.20's preparations for the campaign were hampered by an injury that ruled him out until September, although upon his return Lallana was soon displaying his outstanding close control and vision, not least with a sublime first goal past West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.

Now in his third season with the Reds, Lallana has firmly established himself as a key member of Jürgen Klopp's squad.