Liverpool's Adam Lallana says he 'left sour taste' at Southampton

Adam Lallana
Adam Lallana has scored five goals in 27 appearances since joining Liverpool in the summer

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana says he expects a mixed reaction on Sunday when he returns to Southampton for the first time since leaving St Mary's.

Lallana spent 12 years at Saints before a £25m move to Anfield last July.

The former Saints captain, 26, has denied reports he issued Southampton an ultimatum, but is realistic about how fans will respond to him.

"I'm not stupid enough to think the way I left didn't leave a sour taste in a few people's mouths," said Lallana.

The England international continued to BBC Radio Solent: "I regret the way I left. I regret bits and pieces of how it happened and it got nasty. It was sad the way it happened.

"What is true is that when I knew of Liverpool's interest and that they had put a bid in, I did say to the club it would be my wish if they could negotiate a fee for me to move on.

"Not for one second did I say I wouldn't play for the club again. I'm man enough to say it was my choice and my decision for me to move on."

Up and down the leagues
Lallana has been named in Team of the Year in the Premier League, Championship and League One
He also won the Football League Trophy with Saints in 2010, scoring in the 4-1 final victory over Carlisle

Lallana was part of the Southampton side that climbed from League One to the Premier League.

"Deep down I hope Saints fans appreciate the times we had at the club together," he said.

"Football is a fickle game - if I do get the jeers and the boos I'm just going to take it as them missing me playing down there because I miss Southampton.

"I miss the fans and I miss the good times we had down there. Of course I do."

Adam Lallana in 2008
Lallana (pictured centre in 2008) made 265 appearances for Southampton in all competitions

On facing Southampton for the first time

"It's still not sunk in that I'm going to be playing against Southampton. I think it was a blessing in disguise that I was injured for the first game.

"Even being in the crowd watching that day I just felt really emotional so to have been out there would have been way too soon.

"The rawness of it all has got easier over the past six months. I am looking forward to the game. We've got Besiktas on Thursday which helps as it means I'm concentrating on that and it will only give me a couple of days to think about the Southampton game."

Will he celebrate if he scores?

"Of course not. I've got huge respect for the club, part of me doesn't even know how I'm going to play. It's all a bit surreal. I just have to be professional and play well for Liverpool. I've got too much respect to celebrate."

How is he settling in to life at Anfield?

"It was always going to take time for me to settle in and I still wouldn't say I'm 100% set in my ways up here.

"It's a big transition moving my family up, especially being so settled in Southampton and used to the fans and the stadium, the training facilities, having my friends and family around, so it was always going to be a big challenge for me.

"In the last couple of months we've turned a corner as a club and are playing some really great football."

The importance of the fixture with Liverpool four points behind fourth-placed Saints

"We want to go there and win the game and if we can win we'll be right on their tails.

"They're having such a magnificent season and credit to everyone at the club. The recruitment in the summer they've done really well and brought a great manager in.

"For us it's all about catching them now so we need to go down there and win."