Adam Lallana has an important role to play on and off the field for Liverpool after Jurgen Klopp explained why the player fully deserved his new deal at Anfield.
The England international’s form this season saw him rewarded with a new £110,000-a-week three-year contract on Wednesday as he enjoys his best season since arriving at the club in the summer of 2014.
Lallana has been transformed by the German after his displays under predecessor Brendan Rodgers left many questioning whether the £25million fee paid to Southampton was really worth it.
But while he has been undoubtedly influential on the pitch it is what he offers the side in addition to his playing skills which has made him a key component of Klopp’s plans for the future.
“For me it was clear we had to try everything to keep a player like him. He is a very important player for us,” said the Reds boss.
“I heard when I came in what a lot of people said about him before I came in but I actually only knew him from Southampton.
“Since I’ve been here he has been a really important player for all our development steps which we made – not only for him personally.
“I have a lot of time together with the players but I am not in the dressing room so you need to have players there too and he is one of them.”
Lallana’s new contract also has the option of a further 12-month extension which would take him up to the age of 33.
That length of deal for a player who turns 29 in May also raised a few eyebrows but Klopp has no concerns about keeping older players around the squad.
“He is really a good guy and a perfect age to deliver and get consistency in his performances,” he said.
“I know in the world of football people say when you are 28, ‘Why do you want to give a new contract’ but you need this mixture of different styles of players, different age groups.”