Adam Lallana joined Brighton & Hove Albion from Liverpool in 2020. While he had offers from other Premier League sides, he eventually chose to join the Seagulls. During his time at Liverpool, Lallana was frequently injured, which limited his appearances. His injuries combined with increased competition in Jurgen Klopp’s squad afforded him just 40 appearances in his last three seasons at the Merseyside club.
Since joining the Seagulls, Lallana has been in relatively good shape. He made 30 appearances for Graham Potter’s side last season, his highest since 2016-17. Earlier this season, Lallana gave credit to his manager, stating that Potter’s approach of keeping players fresh will help him with the longevity of his playing career.
This season Lallana has been a key part of Potter’s midfield, as the Seagulls continue their bright start in the league. They currently sit seventh in the Premier League with four wins, five draws, and two losses in 11 games. While he is used to being utilized in a more advanced role in the midfield, Lallana’s role has been changed by Potter this season. Lallana is now being deployed in the holding midfield position, as pointed out by Pep Guardiola after his side secured a 4-1 victory at the Amex Stadium.
Although the scoreline was convincing, it does not represent a complete picture, as Brighton were a transformed team in the second half, causing many problems for City. This season for the Seagulls, Lallana has been utilized in the deep-lying role in the midfield, alongside Bissouma or Gross, as opposed to the attacking midfield or a box-to-box role that he has been familiar with during his time at Southampton and Liverpool.
So far in the current season, Lallana has been involved in all 11 of his side’s fixtures. Let’s dive into his stats from last season and this season, to identify his changed role for the Seagulls.
Adam Lallana – Defensive Actions 2020-21
Last season, Lallana was limited in his defensive duties. In the above chart, we can see that in terms of defensive actions, Lallana was average, with most of his defensive stats nearer to the league median value. His most notable stat was his average recoveries in the opponent’s half. This scenario can be attributed to him being deployed mostly in an attacking role in the midfield. In 30 appearances last season, he made 28 tackles with a tackle success rate of 46%.
Adam Lallana – Defensive Actions 2021-22
Contrasting his defensive stats from last season to this season, we can see improvement in many areas, as indicated in the above chart. The fact that he has been played as a holding midfielder this season has led to an increase in his defensive responsibilities for the Seagulls. The most notable increase amongst his defensive stats has been his average defensive duels per match, loose balls duel wins and average recoveries per match. In 11 games in this Premier League season, he has already made 21 tackles with a tackle success rate of 52%.
Adam Lallana – Duels 2020-21
Lallana’s duels map from last season indicates his heavy involvement in defensive and aerial duels in the opponent’s half. Lallana averaged 66 touches per match, with most of his touches occurring in the advanced areas of the pitch rather than his half.
Adam Lallana – Duels 2021-22
This season, although his average touches have increased only marginally, 69, most of his touches have been in his half. We can gauge from his duels map that he has been involved in fewer defensive and aerial duels in the opposition half this season. Lallana’s role as a deep-lying midfielder is to provide an element of creativity in his half, allowing the Seagulls to build up from the back. Furthermore, he is a vocal and calming presence who excels in pressing and movement, with or without the ball.
Graham Potter has once again displayed his tactical acumen with his tactical tweaks. Brighton have plenty of options in the advanced areas of the pitch. Potter remains confident that Lallana is capable of playing multiple positions in the midfield. If he continues his impressive performance in his new role as a holding midfielder, Lallana might become a regular feature for Brighton in the deep midfield.