Adam Lallana reportedly prefers a move to Liverpool over Chelsea or Manchester United, but it's the nagging menace of Jose Mourinho's Blues that threatens to see Brendan Rodgers lose out on another of his targets.
As reported by Martin Lipton of the Mirror, Lallana is said to have his sights firmly on a move to Anfield:
Adam Lallana is set to become the first piece in Liverpool’s Champions League jigsaw next season. The England midfielder – a boyhood Everton fan – has his heart set on a move to Anfield.
Chelsea and Manchester United have both targeted Lallana but the player is intent on a move to Merseyside, as Brendan Rodgers looks to add to his title challenging squad.
Chelsea have proven themselves complete pests in Liverpool's pursuit of talent across the last two transfer windows. Willian, who originally jetted into England "after initial conversations with Liverpool," was snapped up via a late bid from Chelsea after appearing to agree a deal with Tottenham, reported by Matthew Morlidge of the Daily Mail.
Willian netted the second goal during the West London side's recent victory over Liverpool, a result that means the destiny of this year's Premier League prize remains out of the Reds' hands. Adding to the sickening blow was Fernando Torres' assist, the striker who exchanged Anfield for Stamford Bridge in 2011's notorious £50 million deal.
Liverpool appeared to be in the driving seat for the signing of Mohamed Salah, but Chelsea also lodged "an eleventh hour bid" to acquire his services, per David Anderson of the Mirror. Rodgers said the loss of Salah was "difficult to take" once Mourinho's men agreed a deal for the talented Egyptian, noted by Andy Hunter of the Guardian.
As such, the threat of Chelsea hijacking Lallana's potential move continues to linger. The Southampton midfielder has enjoyed an excellent season in Mauricio Pochettino's improving side—scoring nine and assisting six across the Premier League campaign, per WhoScored.com—and is expected to make Roy Hodgson's England squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Lallana would naturally fit into Rodgers' side and flaunts all of the attributes the impressive Northern Irishman expects from his players. He is classy on the ball, boasts an excellent range of passing and works hard to ensure he fulfils defensive duties alongside the more glamorous tasks.
The 25-year-old could roam behind Liverpool's strikers in a central position or situate himself on either flank. We've seen Rodgers utilise Raheem Sterling in this range of roles throughout the season, suggesting versatility is paramount to his squad's success.
Rodgers must stamp his authority on the transfer market. The former Swansea boss has proven himself one of the division's top man-managers and tacticians; now he needs to show the cunning in order to land players who interest multiple clubs.
While Liverpool are unlikely to compete with the financial power of Chelsea, Rodgers has created a winning mentality that is just as attractive. His fearless side have proven themselves against England's best and stand on the brink of their first title in 24 years.
With the future looking extremely bright, Liverpool must now show the same courage in a transfer market that is bustling with world-class talent.