Time waits for no man and if anyone can vouch for this, it is Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana.
That was four decades ago, though. Lallana has won only five caps, the last of which came in 2018 and managed only nine Premier League begins in the previous three seasons.
This summer he’ll be out of contract in Liverpool. The expectation is that he will leave Anfield in search of routine first-team football. Like Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno 12 months ahead, he’ll do this too much fanfare and eulogising and pub an abysmal collapse, he’ll do so in a Premier League winner too.
A veteran of the Brendan Rodgers days, the Reds have moved on without Lallana.
But that does not mean that the former Southampton captain is washed up. He’s remained involved in Jürgen Klopp’s squad when fitness has enabled it and scored his first Premier League goal since May 2017, a priceless equaliser since the Premier League champions-elect drew 1-1 in Manchester United in October.
And Klopp was typical, well, Klopp in his post-match remarks following Lallana’s late intervention at Old Trafford, the only blot on the Reds’ otherwise faultless album in the Premier League this year.
“A fantastic story.
“This weekend we had a long discussion generally about our situation, and he is completely relaxed and fine and understands how hard it’s in the moment to come in the team.
“But he trains well and he deserved that; it was 25-30 minutes and he had a proper effect. That was really, really wonderful.”
The German has long been an admirer of Lallana and it is little wonder that the pair are close, they’re neighbours, after all. That geographical quirk has contributed to tongue-in-cheek jibes about Lallana being the teacher’s pet but the fact of the matter is that his popularity is down to what he provides, beyond placing the boss’s bins outside.
Versatility is a big part of Lallana’s allure. He’s played in almost every midfield role since moving from the South Coast in 2014 and in pre-season Klopp attempted the St. Albans native outside in the No.6 job at the bottom of midfield.
His real qualities, however, lie in his ability to pop up in distance, select passes and create goals. It’s a mix of these qualities that he will not be short of supplies this summer.
Leicester City were first to be connected with a pre-contract arrangement and the opportunity for Lallana and Rodgers to work together once again. It was the Ulsterman who paid 25million to bring him to Anfield six decades back, a fee that, for a moment, weighed heavy on his shoulders.
Rodgers was quick to deny interest in his former participant, stating: “I have seen a lot of things around Adam and that we have approached Liverpool, which is not true.”
Nevertheless, speaking earlier in the month, the Leicester boss was fulsome in his praise. “Adam is a great player and one I introduced into Liverpool,” he explained,
“I’ve been aware of his abilities since he was a young player at Southampton. He’s at the point where he is done brilliantly there and I am sure he will be weighing his options.”
Among those options are supposedly former side Southampton.
Leicester, however, would be the ideal fit for all parties. All being well, the Foxes will have the ability to provide Lallana Champions League football next year, in addition to the chance to join with Rodgers once again.
For his part, Lallana could play as an eight-and-a-half at a three-man midfield, farther forward as a No.10 or an interior forward or even, as Klopp pondered last summer, in the bottom of midfield alongside destroyer Wilfred Ndidi.
His experience in the top table of European soccer could prove invaluable to a young Leicester squad, the vast majority of whom could be considered Champions League rookies, even people who had been part of their 2016/17 team that reached the quarter-finals before being removed by Atlético Madrid.
At 31 and contemplating his chequered injury record in the past couple of seasons, it is unlikely he will play every week.
It’s been a challenging few years for Lallana however, like Rodgers, he could find himself revitalised away from Anfield yet wealthier because of his experience there.