Proving one of the standout performers of a hit-and-miss January for Liverpool, Joe Allen has his sights set of a first-team role under Jurgen Klopp.
Throughout January, Allen scored twice, laid on an astonishing no-look assist for Jordon Ibe and hit the winning penalty in the Reds’ League Cup semi-final shootout win over Stoke City to cap a remarkable rise.
Ending the month in the captain’s armband, Allen’s performances were seemingly recognised by Klopp in selecting his lineup for Saturday’s 0-0 FA Cup fourth-round draw with West Ham United.
Despite this string of strong performances however, Allen remains on the periphery at Liverpool.
The Welshman can count himself behind Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Lucas Leiva in the midfield pecking order, and is now in the final 18 months of his contract.
But speaking to BBC Merseyside Sport after the latest Anfield stalemate, Allen outlined how he is looking to use his impressive form as a “springboard” to a first-team role.
“It’s been a tough season,” he said.
“The competition is as fierce as ever. But any opportunity I get that’s exactly what I’ve got to try to do.
“There’s been some good moments in the last few games, so I’m hoping to use it as a springboard to force my way back into the reckoning for more games.”
One of the most notable aspects of Allen’s recent displays has been his level of consistency in a Liverpool shirt.
The 25-year-old is a dependable midfield option, capable of performing defensive duties to a high standard as well as knitting together attacking moves with intelligent one-touch play.
With his goal in January’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal, and his penalty in the League Cup semi-final, Allen also showed his composure, and the Wales international highlighted this fortitude as key to his form.
“My focus has been on making sure that I’m ready, sometimes when you’re not playing you can maybe take your foot off the peddle,” he explained.
“I’ve tried to make sure that hasn’t happened, so when I do get my chance I don’t blow it.
“I’ve had to be patient, it is testing.
“For any professional, you want to play week in, week out—it’s never that simple.
“But I’m happy that I’ve had a few more chances recently. Let’s see what comes of it.”
On his recent performances, it can certainly be argued that Allen is deserving of a regular starting role in Klopp’s midfield, with Lucas enduring a run of poor form and Henderson struggling with a recurring heel injury.
He may provide Klopp with the perfect tonic as he navigates a congested winter schedule, having battled back from the brink to prove his fighting spirit.
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