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Adam Lallana: I had no doubts about Mario's ability


Liverpool's Italian striker Mario Balotelli

Liverpool's Italian striker Mario Balotelli

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana

Liverpool's Italian striker Mario Balotelli

Liverpool's Italian striker Mario Balotelli


Liverpool's Italian striker Mario Balotelli

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana never doubted his fellow summer signings and now they are starting to gel he believes a top-three spot is not beyond them.

Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli, two of seven arrivals in pre-season, both scored in the crucial 3-2 win over Champions League-chasing rivals Tottenham.

Emre Can has emerged as a classy performer since being installed in a back three on St Stephen's Day while Alberto Moreno now appears to have made the left-sided midfield role his own.

Lallana himself has contributed in flashes, although he has been hindered by a number of injuries, and he has been impressed by the influence some of the newer players have had recently.


"People were questioning the new signings at the beginning of the season but not for one minute was I questioning them," said the England international after Liverpool extended their unbeaten league run to nine matches.

"It was always going to take a little bit of time as they're young players. Now they've settled in we're starting to see the rewards.

"You look at the likes of Lazar and Emre, a lot of the new players are settling in well and we're seeing that out on the field.

"I'm pleased for Mario and that goal will be great for him. He needs to keep working hard, because when he works hard and comes on like that the fans warm to him and people react and he can score goals.

"If he does that and keeps putting the effort in then the goals will come.

"We've got a great squad and we're gaining momentum. We were missing Raheem (Sterling) but Lazar came in and got his goal and it was a massive three points for us."

Victory over Spurs lifted Liverpool to within three points of fourth-placed Arsenal and with their next league match away to third-placed Southampton later this month suddenly two places in the top four appear to be within their reach.

"We have got everything to play for," added Lallana.

"We can go higher than fourth, we can hit third place. We've got Daniel Sturridge back now and it was great for him to get through 70 minutes (on his first start since August 31). You could tell by the reaction at the final whistle how big a result it was.

"It does enormous things to your confidence, Tottenham are a different team to the one we played earlier in the season.

"Having a big mentality is massive, especially when you are at a club like Liverpool and have all these games to play.

"We've learned a lot from the difficulties we faced at the start of season."

Before they can look to put pressure on third-placed Saints, Liverpool have to turn their attention to the FA Cup.

This weekend they have a fifth-round tie at Crystal Palace, where a 3-1 defeat back in November prompted Brendan Rodgers into a rethink of his strategy which ultimately resulted in the 3-4-3 formation in which so many players are now flourishing.

"It's a massive game," said Lallana. "We got taught a lesson by Palace earlier in the season. We owe them one."