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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL: All-action Lallana returns to give Klopp selection headache

EPL: All-action Lallana returns to give Klopp selection headache

November 16, 2017 23:50 IST

Adam Lallana of Liverpool celebrates

IMAGE: Adam Lallana. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool look likely to have a full set of attacking options for the first time this season when they face Southampton at Anfield on Saturday.

Injuries have blighted Liverpool's start but Adam Lallana is back in full training after damaging his thigh pre-season and is expected to feature while another injury concern, Sadio Mane, also trained on Wednesday after tweaking a hamstring on international duty with Senegal.

Philippe Coutinho, who last appeared for Liverpool on October 22, came through an untroubled 68 minutes in Brazil's friendly against England on Tuesday.

 

With Jordan Henderson also fit after missing Liverpool's last match, the 4-1 win over West Ham United, manager Juergen Klopp may have a full hand for the first time since adding Mohamed Salah to his attacking armoury in the summer.

The 29-year-old quickly became instrumental in triggering the Liverpool press and provided a series of tireless performances last season when he scored eight goals in 31 league appearances.

Lallana frequently led the statistics for distance run during Liverpool matches, averaging around 13kms, although it is wrong to characterise the former Southampton midfielder as merely a bundle of energy.

He can play anywhere across midfield or out wide and his first touch and close control proved crucial to Liverpool's link play. He was frequently at the heart of some of the club's most important performances.

"It's great to hear Adam Lallana is close to a return because it's all about options with Juergen Klopp," former Liverpool striker John Aldridge told the Liverpool Echo.

"Adam being fit gives us an option, and he'll know he has to fight to win his place back. He's been injured far too much and it's unfortunate, but he'll be under no illusions he has more of a fight than ever to hold down a place in this midfield."

Competition has increased with the signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored on his first Premier league start for Liverpool against West Ham.

With Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino seemingly the first-choice attack, and Coutinho assured a midfield slot, Lallana will be competing with Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum for two starting spots, a competitive step up from last season.

"It's a headache for Klopp, but it's a good headache," said Aldridge.

West Ham's Hernandez dismisses talk of move to Mexico

Javier Hernandez has reaffirmed his commitment to West Ham United ahead of new manager David Moyes's first game in charge at Watford on Sunday.

Mexico's record goalscorer described suggestions that he would seek a move back to his first club Chivas Guadalajara in January as "completely false".

Hernandez was responding to a Mexican newspaper report that said he was intent on a move following the appointment of Moyes, who sidelined him at one of his previous clubs Manchester United.

"I'm 100 percent committed to improve the situation we are in at West Ham," he told West Ham's website (www.whufc.com).

"As I've always said, I'm a Chivas supporter at heart but I have absolutely never requested to leave West Ham."

Hernandez started his career at Chivas, scoring 29 goals in 80 appearances after making his debut as an 18-year-old in 2006.

One of Moyes's first tasks will be to ensure there is no fallout from the pair's time at Old Trafford when the Mexican went from two titles and 50 goals under Alex Ferguson to just six starts and four goals under his successor.

Moyes's appointment as Slaven Bilic's successor at West Ham has prompted an unexpected resumption in their working relationship.

In a season of struggle in which West Ham are 18th, Hernandez is top scorer with four league goals.

Moyes this week straight-batted questions about his relationship with the striker whom he described as a "brilliant finisher".

"He won't be getting any special treatment," the 54-year-old said.

"If he is scoring goals and working hard, he will be in. It will be the same for the rest of the team."

Hernandez, who joined from Bayer Leverkusen for 16 million pounds ($21.09 million) in July, will not play against Watford after damaging his hamstring in Mexico's 3-3 draw with Belgium last Friday.

The injury will also put him out of subsequent games against LeicesterCity and Everton, three winnable fixtures which could set the tone for Moyes's time in charge.

That should mean Moyes starts with Andy Carroll up front even though the striker has yet to score this season.

Tottenham's Alderweireld ruled out until next year

Tottenham Hotspur's Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld will be missing until next year with a hamstring injury, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday.

Alderweireld, who suffered the injury during the first half of Tottenham's Champions League victory against Real Madrid, was already ruled out of Saturday's Premier League derby at Arsenal.

The severity of his injury, however, is an unexpected blow.

"He's out until after Christmas," Pochettino told reporters. "He feels disappointed but he's trying to focus on his recovery and the first stage of the rehabilitation.

"Always with this kind of injury we have to be cautious."

Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Harry Winks, who all withdrew from the England squad for friendly internationals against Germany and Brazil, trained on Thursday, although Pochettino refused to say whether they would all play.

"We need to assess them again tomorrow," he said.

Tottenham are third in the table, four points above Arsenal, but are yet to win at the Emirates since Pochettino took over in 2014, all three games ending in 1-1 draws.

CAS rejects Silva request over Leicester move

Portugal midfielder Adrien Silva's application to be allowed to join Leicester City on a provisional basis has been turned down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Silva's intended move from Portuguese side Sporting to English Premier League club Leicester was blocked by FIFA because it fell outside the registration period, CAS said.

Leicester bought the 28-year-old just before the transfer window closed on Aug. 31, but FIFA, which handles international transfers, received the paperwork moments after the deadline for registration ended.

Silva appealed to CAS, sport's highest tribunal, against the decision and also applied for "urgent provisional measures" which would allow him to register for Leicester until the final appeal was heard.

CAS said in a statement that it had rejected the application for provisional measures, but the proceedings would continue "and a final decision on the merits will be issued after a hearing, which is yet to be fixed".

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