Jurgen Klopp says Adam Lallana is making the most of his chances despite being uncertain if the midfielder will continue at Andfield next season.
The 31-year-old was used in place of the likes of Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Saturday’s 2-1 comeback victory at Aston Villa.
Lallana was replaced six minutes from time with Liverpool a goal behind at Villa Park, but Klopp was pleased with his performance and said it was an easy decision to start him in holding midfield.
“It was not so difficult because we had a look at the things we needed against Villa and I think you saw how good Adam Lallana worked in that system,” he said.
“It’s a game where we had a lot of possession. We had to see how Adam recovered from midweek, but at the moment he is fine. The decision was not so difficult.
“Adam did really well, he played a really good game. In a game like this, you need that kind of deeper playmaker. That’s how it is.
“From that position, pass the ball, chip the ball, all that stuff. And he did that. He had a lot of ball recoveries, was good in the air, it was a good game.”
Adam Lallana is into his sixth season with Liverpool but is out of contract at the end of the campaign and has emerged as a rumoured target for clubs in MLS and China.
He has struggled with a number of injury issues in recent years and Klopp cannot guarantee the England international will remain at Anfield beyond next year.
“I don’t know what happens in May – for anybody, actually – but the best thing as a footballer is when you get the opportunity to play well, to do so. That is what Adam is doing,” he said.
“When he came on against Manchester United he was good. He has played really good games and is brilliant in training.
“After a long time with some injuries, he is in outstanding shape physically. That’s the most important thing for his career. As for the rest, we will see.”
Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane scored late on in Saturday’s match as Liverpool stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 28 matches since January.
The Reds came from behind to win three matches in the space of a week in all competitions, having also done so against Tottenham and Arsenal, which Lallana puts down to a never-say-die attitude.
“It’s almost like a sixth sense,” he said. “We knew at half-time against Villa that, if we got one goal, it’s going to count. We got it late but we still had time. It doesn’t surprise me that we got a second goal.
“Even though we weren’t at our best in the first half, it helps towards the ‘never say never’. We’ve just got that momentum.”