New signing Adam Lallana admits Liverpool’s scintillating form last season had him wistfully dreaming of playing for the Reds.
The 26-year-old’s comments may not go down well with Southampton fans, but the England midfielder said he could not fail to be impressed by a team which ran Manchester City so close in the title race.
Lallana, a boyhood Everton fan, yesterday completed his move to Anfield for a reported fee of £25 million (€31m) to end manager Brendan Rodgers’ pursuit of a player he identified as a primary target this summer.
“Watching the run-in towards the end of last season it was unbelievable,” said the midfielder after signing what is believed to be a five-year contract.
“It got the hairs on the back of my neck standing up just watching the style of football.
“Deep down I was thinking to myself ‘One day hopefully I’ll be able to play in that team’.”
Southampton were reluctant to allow their captain to leave and rejected a number of bids from Liverpool before the World Cup.
However, the appointment of Ronald Koeman to succeed departed manager Mauricio Pochettino and England’s early return from Brazil saw the deal pick up pace again, and Saints have pledged to use the income to strengthen their squad.
“The fee received from Liverpool will allow the club to further develop the first-team squad for the 2014/2015 season,” said a statement from the south-coast club.
Lallana, who follows Southampton and England team-mate Rickie Lambert to Anfield this summer, was grateful to his former side but admits he could not turn down a chance to play Champions League football and challenge for the title.
Rodgers believes Lallana is a “special commodity” and is delighted to have signed him.
“What is apparent about Adam is that his character is on a par with his talent,” said the Reds’ boss.
“Adam is motivated by being the best he can be and being part of something special. We believe he fits right in with what we are trying to do at Liverpool.”
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