Saturday 17 March 2018

Jurgen Klopp: Adam Lallana still ‘top three or four players of England’

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Adam Lallana is ready to do a job for England at this summer’s World Cup.

The 29-year-old has managed just 12 appearances this season after a ruptured thigh muscle delayed his return until November and then two setbacks with the injury sidelined him further.

Lallana has managed to complete just one full game so far — the goalless Champions League dead rubber against Porto — although he did play for 86 minutes in the win over Burnley on New Year’s Day.

Nevertheless he has been drafted into Gareth Southgate’s squad for friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy at the end of the month with Klopp’s full blessing.

“We worked together with the national team and it is what we do in this case, 100 percent,” Klopp said.

“Adam had probably the most difficult season so far of his career but he is still [one of the] top three or four players of England.

“It was a struggle because it was a really big injury because the tendon ruptured and it needed time.

“I spoke to Gareth this week and it’s a big challenge for us to have him around and not to bring him [onto the pitch] to be honest.

“From all other points of view he’s in fantastic shape but he needs a little more recovery time and we needed all to learn to deal with that.

“I told Gareth I don’t know what we do for the weekend but he will be fit next week 100 percent so if he wants to play him — ‘You’re welcome.’ He’s ready to play football.

“Our job is to use him as often as possible and if he can do prepare him for the World Cup as well.

“He will be fit in the summer, that’s too late for the whole season but from this point of view I’m pretty sure he will be good again.

“If he could play minutes [in England’s friendlies] of course it would help us.”

Lallana’s club-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also received his first England call-up since October after a string of impressive performances in a three-man Liverpool midfield following his £35 million summer move from Arsenal.

“Alex has developed a lot here and so it makes absolute sense because he is a top, top player and hopefully it stays like that,” added Klopp.

“He can help England a lot and he can help us a lot.”

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