Adam Lallana has expressed his admiration for Bournemouth’s fairy-tale rise into the Barclays Premier League – but he’s determined to ensure the division’s new boys have nothing to shout about come full-time on Monday night.
The Liverpool midfielder began his footballing journey at the Cherries’ Academy before joining Southampton, where he’d go on to make the breakthrough into senior football, though he did briefly return to the then League One club for a loan spell in 2007.
Bournemouth were relegated that season and came perilously close to exiting the Football League altogether the following campaign; however, their survival coupled with the arrival of Eddie Howe as manager proved the catalyst that took them from 21st in League Two to the top-flight in just six years.
On Monday night, the south-coast club will journey to Anfield for only the third time in their history – and the first in England’s top division - but Lallana warns they’ll arrive feeling as though they have little to lose.
“They’ve had a great few years – and that’s credit to Eddie Howe and everyone associated with the club,” he told Liverpoolfc.com in a chat at Melwood. “For them to be in the Premier League is an outstanding achievement.
“I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to the game – Anfield is a special ground with a lot of history, so I’m sure their players, staff and fans will be excited for a good away day.
“Perhaps no-one on the outside will expect them to get a win. Even when I played for Southampton in games like this, the pressure was off and you could go out an express yourself, so we need to be wary of that and put our stamp on the game in the right way.
“We played against them last season in the League Cup and they’re a great club who try to play football in the right way.
“They’ll be up for it, trying to get their first points on the board. As they’ve just come up, they’ll be anxious to get those points and that could drive them on even more, so it’s going to be a difficult game for us.”
Lallana’s brief loan with Bournemouth consisted of just four appearances during October 2007 before he returned to St Mary’s to really kick-start his professional career.
So, could anyone have predicted back then what was to follow for the Cherries?
“I doubt it…because a season later they were in League Two and were a couple of points off going out of the Football League,” considered Lallana.
“That’s when Eddie took charge and the rest is history. They’ve been on this astonishing climb throughout the leagues and they’ll want to sustain themselves in the Premier League now.
“All credit to them – it’s a remarkable story.”
Lallana’s respect for Bournemouth’s achievements is clear, but there’ll be little room for sentiment come kick-off at Anfield on Monday evening.
A 1-0 win at Stoke City last Sunday ensured Liverpool began their campaign with three points – and the England man has stressed the importance of picking up the exact same haul in their first Anfield game of 2015-16.
“It’s massive because we need to build on the Stoke performance,” he said. “I’m sure some people wouldn’t have expected us to get that win, whether it was because of what happened in the last game of last season or the fact that Stoke is just generally a tough place to go.
“A lot of teams would probably settle for a point there, but we managed to get all three. Now it’s important we don’t drop points on Monday night and that we still have a 100 per cent league record come the end of the game.
“It’s important we start fast and get the crowd behind us because that’s such an important asset for us. When Anfield is loud and noisy, it’s a great atmosphere and can help us in our performances and in picking up wins.”