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'I've scored plenty in the back garden... didn't feel half as good though!'

Adam Lallana’s equaliser for Liverpool against Manchester United yesterday was his first goal since May 2017.

Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates after scoring against Manchester United.
Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates after scoring against Manchester United.

ADAM LALLANA SAYS he is ready to play a big role in Liverpool’s quest for silverware.

The England midfielder was the Reds’ saviour yesterday, with his late equaliser rescuing a 1-1 draw for Jurgen Klopp’s side against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

It was Lallana’s first competitive goal since May 2017 – a fact the 31-year-old was well aware of.

“I think it was against Middlesbrough, wasn’t it?” he smiled, speaking post-match. “I’ve scored plenty in the back garden against my lad since then – didn’t feel half as good though!”

Lallana was something of an unlikely hero, it has to be said. He had managed just 11 minutes across four substitute appearances in the Premier League prior to the weekend, but his 20-minute cameo this time proved vital. Now, the former Southampton man is desperate for more.

“I’m delighted,” he told reporters. “It’s obviously nice to contribute. I feel like I’ve been fit for a good year now, especially since coming back from pre-season.

“But we’re European champions, we’ve got a top squad, so I’ve had to be patient for my chance but delighted to come on and make an impact like that.

“It’s a long old season. We’ve got the Club World Cup to come. We’ve got the Carabao Cup next week, the Champions League this week, the Premier League at the weekend.

“Just because I’ve not started any of the first nine [league] games, I don’t think that means I am not going to play a big part in this team. Football’s a funny game.

“I think the last couple of years, we’ve got to the Champions League final with a maximum of four really fit central midfielders. It’s about just staying fit, staying strong and staying ready. I feel that’s where my focus will be.”

Lallana admitted that Liverpool left Old Trafford as “probably the happier team” as they extended their unbeaten start to the campaign. They remain six points clear of Manchester City, although they were far from their fluent best against United.

“We could have won it,” said Lallana. “You know, another five, 10 minutes. I thought we were controlling the game, we were dictating the game.

“The last 15 minutes, when I was on the pitch you could feel that, you could feel that we got that little bit of confidence, that little bit of arrogance that we needed. We were calmer on the ball and we didn’t really have that in the first half. But these games are funny. It’s not a bad point.”

He added: “Listen, everyone probably expected us to win but we knew it was going to be tough here today. We knew if we weren’t at our very best, we wouldn’t win. We weren’t at our best, we didn’t win but we ground out a point.

“And if you can do that when you don’t play your best, I think you’ve got a good chance of being successful throughout the season and that’s what we’ve shown today.”

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