Pitchside

Why Liverpool’s Plan B is not as good as Lallana

Pitchside

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Liverpool agreed the signing of Bayer Leverkusen's Emre Can in principle on Thursday, but the work will not stop there for Brendan Rodgers and his troops.

The Northern Irishman has been pursuing Adam Lallana for a number of weeks now and his attempts at luring the Southampton midfield maestro have been rebuffed on more than one occasion by the south coast outfit.

That has prompted Rodgers to be linked with a move for Benfica's star left-winger Lazar Markovic, with the Serbian reportedly valued in the region of £20 million - a far cry from the £30 million Southampton are holding out for Lallana's services.

So who will hold the key to Liverpool's success? Who could provide Rodgers with even more of a cutting edge, bearing in mind his side netted 101 league goals in the Premier League last season? And of course, more importantly, who holds more value for money?

Both have had impressive seasons for their respective clubs, with Adam Lallana in particular a shining light in the Premier League.

Lallana’s technical ability has also demonstrably reached an impressive level this season. The Liverpool target was a key contributor to Southampton’s rapid transitional phases in play which won over so many fans. However, Markovic’s efficiency down the left-hand side is not to be doubted either.

His wand of a left-foot, coupled with his electric pace, has been leaving bewildered defenders in his path, with opposing fans infuriating at his tendency to naturally glide past the opposition rear-guard and cause damage.

Both players possess sublime creativity in their armoury, but Lallana seems the more confident utilising that tool over the 90-minutes. He attempts on average 42 passes per game compared to Markovic’s 25; an indication that he is carving through the lines and doing his utmost to dissect teams going towards their goal.

Lallana scored nine goals this season and Markovic was hot on his heels when it came to the goals over ninety-minutes. Lallana's average was 0.26 with Benfica's man on 0.25 in the Europa League.

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While Markovic seems a worthwhile investment, bearing in mind he is just 20-years-old, Lallana has more than held his own despite playing in the Premier League for just two seasons. They are both more than efficient in circulating possession but Lallana’s elegance, almost canny to a Spaniard, coupled with the fact he has experience of the English game, means Rodgers may opt to keep pursuing the Southampton man.

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Lallana is the midfield metronome in the Southampton side; the dynamic individual who keeps the Saints ticking. While Markovic is at the tender age of 20 and is yet to command a pivotal role in the Benfica side, he is still deemed as their main creator. A constant outlet down the left-hand side, the Serbian is a thorn in any opposition defence.

Lallana seems to have fared better than his fellow Liverpool target over the ninety-minutes, but Markovic's numbers are only represented in the Europa League for this season - perhaps an unfair reflection on his progress domestically.

Rodgers will most certainly be signing one of them this summer and while Lallana seems the more ideal fit, a move for Markovic could be one that comes to fruition.

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