Adam Lallana's productive start to the season is a sign of things to come according to James Milner, who believes his teammate has a couple of gears still to move through in the months ahead.
A subtle switch in the Englishman’s position has proved profitable in the opening weeks of the campaign, with the No.20 on target twice already for Liverpool from his deeper central midfield role.
Lallana’s industry and capacity to run the hard yards has always been a hallmark of his game but so far this term the end product he has yearned for since joining the club is on show too.
In seeing more of the ball in his new role, the 28-year-old can regularly use his sublime close control and agility to forge goalscoring opportunities for himself or others.
His form is being hailed by Jürgen Klopp and supporters – and vice-captain Milner has now added his voice to the chorus of appreciation with a glowing appraisal.
“He seems to glide across the turf and when there are a couple of men around him and he does his Cruyff turn away from them, it’s very hard to defend but it looks great as well,” he told Liverpoolfc.com of Lallana.
“He seems to take everything in his stride, no matter how bad the pass is or how bobbly the pitch is or any situation really – he’s that sort of character.
“He’s great around the dressing room; he’s a big character and an experienced player as well. He’s great for us as a team on and off the field and I can only see him getting better and better. I think it’s going to be a big season for him.”
Adam Lallana's Premier League stats this season
More than two years have now passed since Lallana completed his switch to Liverpool and ended a long and fruitful association with Southampton.
The England international has spoken honestly on several occasions about the challenges and difficulties he faced in finding his best form in the initial stages of his Anfield career.
But such concerns now appear a long way behind him and Milner feels all of the important factors are now aligned for his friend to become a talisman for club and country.
“I’ve said many times before that moving clubs is a massive thing,” he said.
“Sometimes you talk about foreign lads coming to a new country, but even within England, moving clubs and moving home, it takes you time to find your feet.
“He’s a quality player and he’s just going to get better and better. He seems so comfortable here. He’s enjoying his football.
“His work-rate is phenomenal to start that press and to keep going. He gets round the field. His quality on the ball is very pleasing on the eye, which is always nice – he just seems to ghost away from players and always knows where he is.
“With his quality with both feet, he should be getting more goals than he does as well. I know he works hard on that in training. Sometimes that’s about being a bit more selfish; sometimes he’s looking for a pass when he needs to be a bit more selfish.
“But he’s got so much quality and he’s going be a massive player for England and us this year hopefully.”
That quality was certainly evident when Lallana quashed any hopes of a Leicester City comeback at Anfield earlier this month with a stunning strike.
The reigning Premier League champions had reduced their arrears to 2-1 before the break but the midfielder’s rising blast into the top corner restored Liverpool’s cushion en route to a fitting win to mark the opening of the expanded Main Stand.
Watch Lallana's Anfield strike from eight angles on LFCTV GO
Milner added: “It wasn’t a bad strike, was it?
“I said to him afterwards it was one of those where he just put his foot through it. He has got such great technique and sometimes you see him in training when he is just free and striking the ball so cleanly – awkward balls, both feet, he has got that ability.
“Maybe sometimes in a game he thinks about it too much. Just sticking his foot through it, with his technique, might be the way to go, looking at that goal.”