Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said the team "need" Adam Lallana despite his recent lack of action.
So far in 2018-19, the England international has only started two games in the Premier League, with his most recent outing a 12-minute cameo in the 5-1 win over Arsenal in December. Given Liverpool spent big on midfield positions in the summer, some questions have been asked about whether Lallana has a future at Anfield.
But speaking about the player ahead of the Reds' clash with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, Klopp said Lallana has a role to play, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:
"I am still completely positive. Would I like to have him available? Yes, 100 per cent. It's brilliant to have him around, as he can cool games down, he can be creative between the lines, he still has speed and all these things.
"It's not cool to lose him in a session; we didn't have many training injuries this season. He stretched to get the ball and it happened. Nothing else to say about it. Could he be in a better place mentally? Yes, if he was playing and had scored 20 goals in the last 10 games. But everything is fine. Adam knows that we need him."
According to Pearce, the injury Klopp referred to came ahead of Liverpool's 2-1 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup, a match in which Lallana was set to feature.
Jack Lusby of This Is Anfield commented on what was a cruel twist for the player, especially after receiving backing from the manager:
Pearce added that after playing 125 times for the Reds in his first three seasons at the club, he has only registered 23 outings since the start of the 2017-18 season.
Liverpool appear to have moved on from him in this area of the field too. Fabinho is beginning to establish himself as a regular in central midfield, and while Naby Keita is still finding his feet in the Premier League, there have been flashes of brilliance.
Additionally, James Milner, Jordan Henderson and especially Georginio Wijnaldum have all improved under the guidance of Klopp in a manner similar to how Lallana progressed during the German's early years at Anfield.
Per Sport Witness, there has been speculation linking the player with a move to Turkey:
It was reported earlier in the window the Reds would not entertain any possible loan switch:
There's still a long way to go in the campaign, and Lallana will be hopeful of getting chances in the first team as such.
Even so, with Liverpool out of both cup competitions, it's tough to see where Lallana will get regular minutes on the field to impress the manager. There will surely be a discussion to have over his future this summer.