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Paul Hyland: Adam Lallana sparkles and Rodgers can breathe again

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Liverpool's Mario Balotelli (R) and Steven Gerrard

Liverpool's Mario Balotelli (R) and Steven Gerrard

Liverpool's Mario Balotelli (R) and Steven Gerrard

IT would be churlish, with the season that's in it, to be anything but generous to Brendan Rodgers after a remarkable year of two halves - one semi-miraculous and the other torturous.

Last night, an outrageous stroke of good luck, great skill from Adam Lallana and some decent football from players who were almost title winners last season gave him another festive win.

It has to be said, Lallana moves with a languid grace which speaks of a great inner confidence but he has been unable to contribute anything of substance to Rodgers' season and perhaps now the wheel has turned.

At the end of Liverpool's opening goal was another summer buy Alberto Moreno, but Lallana was in the middle of the build-up and with Phillippe Coutinho weaving some magic spells, suddenly Rodgers talk of progress made some small sense.

The accusation levelled at him is that he hasn't been able to move on from a Liverpool team with Luis Suarez and a bad defence and a Liverpool team with no Suarez and a bad defence.

But there was obviously more to it than that, notably Mario Balotelli's brooding and destructive presence and the fact that the legs were cut from under young players back in April. It would not have been hard for Coutinho, Sterling and Henderson to move on from their collapse during the Premier League title run-in with Suarez along for the ride but without him, everything turned sour.

He still has a bad defence, underlined yet again after Lallana's persistence and Lukasz Fabianski's nervous attempt at a clearance saw the ball bounce off the former Southampton man and into the net.

Within seconds of the restart, Rodgers defence folded and Gylfi Sugurdsson gave Swansea hope.

But Lallana never wilted and grew wings as the game progressed.

A wonderful run for Liverpool's third was almost trumped by Henderson's effort direct from a corner that went in off Jonjo Shelvey and suddenly Anfield was wreathed in smiles.

Now, maybe there is some room for mild optimism that Rodgers has halted a spiral and with a few quid in his hand, can strengthen his squad before the window closes.


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