Has Adam Lallana become Liverpool's new Joe Cole?

Liverpool spent big money on the 26-year-old last summer. Things haven't quite worked out to plan just yet.

During Liverpool's FA Cup loss to Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday, Reds fans were subjected to the ultimate humiliation late on.

Indeed, Tim Sherwood brought Joe Cole on to face his former side.

The change wasn't necessarily needed. Villa were doing fine and, most importantly, could afford to bring a passenger on late on so comfortable were they in midfield.

You can bet, then, that this was a move designed to knock the final signs of life out of Liverpool. A player who flopped and could barely make an impact at Anfield brought on to show them how the tables have turned.

Perhaps a bigger problem for the Reds, though, is that they may have found their new Joe Cole this season - signed for £25 million, according to BBC Sport, last summer and delivering very little in the way of final product.

Yes, as his first full season at the club nears an end, questions must be asked of Adam Lallana.

During Liverpool's now infamous summer spending spree, a number of young talents were brought to Merseyside with the hope of a bright future. By that token, the likes of Lazar Markovic, Alberto Moreno and more have plenty of leeway. Terrible performance after terrible performance, they can say 'hey, we were brought here for the future not for now.'

Lallana, however, doesn't have that excuse. This was a 26-year-old in peak form who had broken onto the international scene when Liverpool signed him.

Now, though, he barely features for the Reds. Brendan Rodgers is a man under fire - who almost weekly gets big selections badly wrong. But, with Lallana, it isn't just a case of him making the same mistake every week. He clearly feels the former Southampton man isn't fit enough.

And he isn't. If he's not injured, Lallana is no longer making an impact when he does play - so lightweight and short of fitness is the midfielder.

Unfortunately, the parallels are all too similar. After a mixed debut campaign, he may well come good for Liverpool. But the injury issues may also prevent that from ever happening. Cole, too, was a phenomenal player in his day. Lallana, like him, has the talent. What difference does it make, though, if he is no longer able to show it out there on the field of play?

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