Liverpool’s change in system at West Ham United last weekend got the best out of each of its components en route to a 4-0 victory.
That’s the opinion of Adam Lallana, one of the chief protagonists of a dominant performance at London Stadium that maintained the Reds’ course for a Champions League qualification spot.
“I think personnel enabled the manager to play that system,” said the No.20, who featured behind Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge in a diamond midfield that had Philippe Coutinho withdrawn to the centre.
“If we had played a 4-3-3 with those players, either Divock or Studger would have had to play out wide. I might have been playing out wide. It was the perfect system for the players we had.
“It utilised everyone’s qualities with Studger running in behind and Philippe on the ball constantly. I was making runs after being given a licence to roam.”
Coutinho was the pick of the bunch on the afternoon.
The Brazilian created the opener for Sturridge with a sumptuous pass that sent the striker through one-on-one, waltzed past the Hammers defence to smack in the second, and showed great composure to net a third.
“Philippe is a massive player for us,” Lallana enthused. “In big moments in big games you turn to your main man and he was pivotal for us.
“His ball through to Daniel for the first goal unlocked the door and then two moments of brilliance with his finishing assured us the three points. He’s been fantastic this season.”
The win over West Ham ensured Liverpool’s top-four fate remained in their own hands, with one challenge left in the Premier League season.
Middlesbrough, whose relegation back to the Championship has already been confirmed, stand between Jürgen Klopp’s men and the three points they need for a return to Europe’s elite club competition.
Lallana noted: “Middlesbrough at home is a different challenge. In this type of game we’ve struggled to find the key to unlock teams at times.
“The reins are off them. Does that mean they are going to play with a bit of freedom or are they going to sit in? We need to adapt to however they play but more importantly we need to back ourselves to deliver.
“Getting back in the Champions League would be a sign that we’re going in the right direction. It’s been a great season but we need to get over the line on Sunday and I’m confident we’ll do that.
“If we make it into the Champions League we deserve it, if we don’t beat Middlesbrough at home then we don’t deserve to be there. It’s as simple as that, really.”