By North-west correspondent Adam Lallana
Adam Lallana has revealed how Jurgen Klopp has helped him to rediscover the form that prompted Liverpool to sign him for £25million from Southampton.
Lallana cited the German’s “aura” and “abundance of charisma” as being key factors in his vastly improved performances.
The England international had a mixed first season at Anfield following his switch from the Saints and continued to fire intermittently under Brendan Rodgers before Klopp took over in October.
The new manager left a huge imprint on the players ahead of his first match at Tottenham, which was a goal-less draw.
“I remember the team meeting before we set off for the ground on that day,” explained Lallana in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “We listened to the manager and I was so pumped by what he’d said – the vibe, the emotion and the feeling – I walked out wanting the game to start there and then, in that second.
“It was just the passion of his words that got to us, and the comparison he made of football to normal life, the idea of getting the win and feeling good about what you’ve achieved. He told us he wants us to have that feeling of going home after a game, sitting there and knowing you have done your job. To always feel you can be satisfied with your performance.
“He really is brilliant to listen to. He seems to have an off-the-cuff way about him. You can’t imagine him sitting in his office preparing a team talk. He just goes with the flow and it’s all genuine.
“There is no ego but an abundance of charisma and an aura. He means what he says. He’ll be your mate but not your best mate. He’s not going to go for a pint with us after the match, but he’ll call you into the office and have a chat if needed.”
Lallana returns to his former club on Wednesday as the Merseysiders take on Southampton in the League Cup quarter-finals.
The 27-year-old sees similarities in the strategies of Klopp and his former Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“He is getting out of me what Mauricio asked of me at Southampton,” Lallana said. “The manager sets his team out the way Pochettino does – that is where I can see a similarity. He said to me in our first conversation how he’d seen me play at Southampton. Now the role I’m playing now is more like it was there.
“I don’t want to compare managers too much because it’s not fair, but the pressing style is similar to what I was used to. The demand is similar – put in the graft. He understands you will make mistakes and not play so well in a game but if you leave blood and sweat on the pitch for him – that is what he likes most.
“When Mauricio came in at Southampton he said ‘this is what I demand from every single player. You cannot carry anyone.’ That’s what the new manager has brought with him here. There is no getting away from the fact in my first season here I did not perform as I would have liked. Injuries were a part of that but that’s not an excuse. We have good stages in our career and stages where you could do better. I’m certainly enjoying my football now.”
Lallana reveals that he still has a close relationship with Pochettino, who is now in his second year at Tottenham.
“I had a great time under him. I still speak to him weekly. We speak as friends rather than about football. He is a good man and I got really close to him. There is a respect there.
“He was a big reason why I’m here because of what I learnt from him. I always knew he would do well at Spurs. I’m really happy for him.”