Adam Lallana believes his rescue act against Manchester United could prove a turning point in his Liverpool career - and underlined the club’s title credentials.
Lallana has been reduced to a bit-part player at Anfield through a combination of poor form and injuries and Liverpool’s strength in midfield and attack.
The England midfielder had made just five Premier League starts in the previous two campaigns but came off the bench to secure a 1-1 draw on Sunday five minutes from time after Marcus Rashford had given Liverpool a first-half lead.
And Lallana hopes his goal will be the start of a turnaround.
“I’m delighted, it’s obviously nice to contributed,” he said. “I feel like I've been fit for a good year now, especially since coming back from pre-season.
“But we’re European champions, we’ve got a top squad, so I’ve had to be patient for my chance but I’m delighted to come on and make an impact like that. I feel that’s the first of big moments me for this season.
“Of course [I feel this could be my season], yeah. It’s a long old season. We’ve got the World Club Cup to come. We’ve got the Carabao Cup next week, the Champions League this week, the Premier League at the weekend.
“Just because I’ve not started any of the first nine [league] games, I don’t think that means I am not going to play a big part in this team. Football’s a funny game.
“I think in the last couple of years, we’ve got to the Champions League final with a maximum of four really fit centre midfielders. It’s about just staying fit, staying strong and staying ready. I feel that’s where my focus will be.”
Despite being criticised in some quarters for failing to make the most of United’s current troubles, Lallana claimed Liverpool’s ability to grind out a result at Old Trafford despite an underwhelming display showed their mettle.
“Everyone probably expected us to win but we knew it was going to be tough here,” he said. "We knew if we weren’t at our very best, we wouldn’t win.
“We weren’t at our best, we didn’t win but we grinded out a point, and if you can do that when you don’t play your best, I think you’ve got a good chance of being successful throughout the season and that’s what we’ve shown here.
“It’s a point at Old Trafford. We'll take that, move on, we know we can play better and hopefully improve.”