In amongst Kenny Dalglish’s many signings this summer, Charlie Adam was heralded by the majority of Liverpool fans as the best of the lot. Coming off the back of the best season of his career, the £7m signing came with the reputation as the man to finally replace Xabi Alonso.
Adam’s superhuman performances for Blackpool even led many to compare him to Steven Gerrard. Both were the heartbeat of their teams; consistently spraying passes from a deep-lying position, swinging set-pieces into dangerous areas and scoring important goals.
Indeed, Adam began his Liverpool career in the same vein. On his debut for the club, the Scot’s superb free-kick was flicked on by Luis Suarez to give Liverpool the lead. In the next home game, Adam scored his first Liverpool goal just a week after helping the side to their first win at Arsenal in 11 years.
However, things soon turned sour. A potent Tottenham Hotspurs side exposed Adam’s chronic lack of pace, resulting in a red card within half an hour.
With Steven Gerrard missing the start of the season, Adam looked to provide the side with a creative outlet, but this often led to wayward 60 yard passes when a shorter, simpler pass would have sufficed.
With Dalglish often deciding on a 4-4-2 system, Charlie Adam’s lethargic movement came to be highlighted by opposition teams, who began to see this as a weak point in the Liverpool team. Lucas Leiva’s long-term injury certainly did not help matters and only served to further highlight Adam’s defensive frailties.
By far and away the most frustrating aspect of Adam’s Liverpool career so far though is his woeful delivery from set-pieces. At Blackpool he was lauded – and rightly so – up and down the country for his wicked, teasing deliveries which led to many goals for the Seasiders.
In contrast, he has struggled terribly to replicate this sort of service on Merseyside. Far too often, his weak corners and free-kicks are cleared by the defender at the near-post.
Despite looking like a man in his late-thirties, Charlie Adam is still only 26 years old. When Lucas is reinstated in the team, Adam will immediately look more assured and hopefully return to the sort of form that led King Kenny to part with £7m. But as things stand, Adam faces a real fight for a starting berth.