Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher believes midfielder Adam Lallana has to add more consistency to his game if he wants to keep his spot in the Reds squad under manager Jurgen Klopp.
The former Southampton man has flashed tremendous potential at Anfield but hasn't produced consistently, often failing to translate his strong play into goals and assists. He provided both in the 3-0 win over Manchester City, however, and Carragher believes performances like that is exactly what the England international needs.
There is no doubting Lallana has ability. His energy is impressive, too, as he has no trouble covering a lot of ground.
But what he did in midweek, with a goal and an assist, was provide an end product to his game, which even he has admitted has been lacking.
Lallana reminds me, in some ways, of my old team-mate Vladimir Smicer. He was very good between the boxes and technically he was excellent — you would see that every day in training — but at times he lacked conviction in decisive moments.
If Lallana, — a player who I like — wants to be part of Jurgen Klopp's plans in the future, the performance he produced against City has to be replicated.
The 27-year-old has put together a handful of strong performances since Klopp took over the position from former manager Brendan Rodgers, but he hasn't been excellent on a week-to-week basis.
Klopp is expected to make wholesale changes to the squad during the summer transfer window and bring in the type of players he wants to work with, so Liverpool's current crop of talent will have to use the coming months to showcase their abilities and secure their spots for the future.
After his strong showing against City, Lallana's spot certainly seems safe. Joe.co.uk thought it may have been the best match he played all season long:
Is this Lallana's best game of the season?— JOE.co.uk (@JOE_co_uk) March 2, 2016
With a goal and an assist, he played a pivotal role in the 3-0 win, continuing what has been a solid run of performances. If he can keep things going, Klopp won't have to start the search for a new attacking midfielder during the summer.
Hatem Ben Arfa Rumours Emerge
Newcastle flop Hatem Ben Arfa has been rebuilding his career in Ligue 1 with Nice, and his strong form has reportedly been noticed at Anfield. According to Le10Sport (h/t the Sun's Anthony Chapman), a number of clubs are lining up to sign him this summer, including Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund.
Premier League fans may remember the incredible talent best for his failed stint with the Magpies, but Ben Arfa has looked like a different player since returning to France. Per Chapman, he has already scored 12 goals in 26 starts as a wide man this season.
Football writer Dave O'Connell has been impressed with his turnaround―although he believes a move to Anfield is unlikely:
Fascinated by Ben Arfa's resurrection. Unlikely, but some outlets linking him with LFC. He's made 13 more dribbles than Mahrez this season.— Dave O’Connell (@DaveOCKOP) March 5, 2016
Issues with maturity and consistency doomed his Newcastle career and led to his release in January 2015, but those issues seem to have vanished after another spell in his native France. Ben Arfa is even expected to make Les Bleus' UEFA Europe 2016 squad, which would be some surprise given his standing in world football just a year ago.
Here's a look at some of his highlights:
The Reds will be wary of his past failings in England, but given their need for some talented wide men, Ben Arfa might be a cost-effective and motivated option. His talent has never been questioned, and one has to believe he's keen to prove to his doubters he can be a success in the Premier League.