Joe Allen looking to use recent form as “springboard” to Liverpool first team

on 31.01.2016

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.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Liverpool's Joe Allen in action against Arsenal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 13, 2016: Liverpool's Joe Allen celebrates scoring the third equalising goal against Arsenal during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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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  1. Much as I hated anyone and anything related to that criminally mediocre Bodgers, and much as I have written off Joe Allen in the past, I think his recent performances under Klopp deserves some praise. If he can maintain his good performances, then I’d love to see him more often in the team. But against more physical sides, I think he is still a pushover. So please prove me wrong again, Welsh Pirlo! :D

    • You’re finally seeing the light. You’re learning. The most underrated Luverpool player since Fabio Aurelio. Weird that you so hate a guy who took us within a whisker of the title. Weird and rather sad.

      • You’re still deluded. Bodgers has never taken LFC to any Finals, either locally or in Europe. He has never won a single trophy in his life. If not for his mediocrity, we would have won the title with Suarez’s goals and assists. Move on, Bodgers is widely acknowledged as a failure, and his mediocrity is matched only by his big mouth and ego.

        • Anknowledged by who? You and your fellow sheep?! Shallow fans for shallow times. We need more fans like BrooklynRed.

          • Aw, shucks.

            In a way, I feel bad for the people who don’t properly remember just how good we were as a collective. Anyone who thinks it was all down to Suarez obviously doesn’t remember the individual matches and what an absolute blast, what thrilling madness, the whole thing was. The sheer audacity of our approach, the beautifully ruthless desire to not just defeat our opponents but actively demoralize the entire league.

            I love a trophy as much as the next Red who has been in the wilderness for far too long, but if you can’t appreciate the glory in – to take just one example – Gerrard not celebrating his first penno at Old Trafford in the 3-0 because there was a job to be done, well then you are really missing the ride. There are all sorts of glories in life.

          • We were far from a good collective unit. You can say we were a good collective “attacking unit” but we sucked at defence

          • I remember either Shearer of Murphy on MOTD day, saying that all Liverpool needed in that season (to win EPL) was organized defence, cause sheer talent and pace of the Suarez-Sterling-Sturridge, and pressing and interpassing of the Gerrard-Hendo-Coutinho guaranteed 2+ goals each game.
            Now, when I think of that season, I tend to agree with them, because even average manager like Pardew, Martinez or Bilic could’ve managed to organize our defence.

          • Defence is an important component of football and teams that don’t appreciate it dont deserve to win the League.

      • Fabio Aurellio underrated? Naa that guy was loved by all at LFC. Just that he got injured too often which fans generally acknowledge.

    • In a midfield 3 Allen can be a real asset, but in a midfield two I think he would struggle with the physicality. It’s good to see Klopp playing him further forward. His passing has always been his biggest attribute and his passing can now cut teams open instead of passing it side to side.
      I felt a little bit sorry for Allen under Rodgers. Despite Brendan coaching him at Swansea and obviously being a big fan of his I felt he never played him in his correct position. Allen has never nor will he ever be a DM, yet Rodgers insisted on playing him there. Oh well it’s a new era so c’mon Joe, show us what you can do.

      • I believe Rodgers used him at DM position, because Rodgers never had any DMF natural poistion in his blueprint scheme. Rodgers liked to play tiki taka model, where DMF position is occupied by actually deep lying playmaker.
        Hence, we were so easily beaten in the middle, but had 70% ball possession. It’s just what his philosophy was.

      • In Wales, apparently they are completely mystified by how little we rate him. I can’t say I’ve watched them on a regular basis, but against the Netherlands it was a MOTM performance from the Welsh Allen and a preview of the form he has shown at club level.

        I’m interested to see how they do this summer.

      • Well, I’d rather have players that perform consistently at “7” than to give us an “8” once a while, while giving us “4-5” in all the other matches. There is hope that Joe will play better and more consistently so under Klopp.

  2. Allen has improved significantly under Klopp and I for one hope he keeps it up, when in form he’s able to keep a hold of the ball better than any of our other CM’s. Hopefully we see him in the first team soon because he’s certainly been performing better than the likes of Can, Milner and Lallana recently, keep up the good work Joe, YNWA!

    • Joe’s done well in playing in cup games or substitute appearances in the league .The problem is when he has a run of games in the league that is when he is found out.

      • Good squad player. Nothing more. He has recently played well but he seems better than he is due to the rest of the team performing poorly.

      • correct hes done well against weaker sides exeter and a much changed west ham yes he was ok against stoke but then again he did come on in the 85th minute when everyone else was tired
        also should he not be looking like scoring hes been near enough playing the furthest up the field in these games

  3. after all the criticism he’s had. ( and nobody more so than myself) to see him dig in and play as well as he has is testament to him. I really hope he gets a run in the team. He thoroughly deserves to.

  4. i think the turning point for joe came in wales euro campaign he had head injury v belgium i think, since then he has been very much improved, i think the lad deserves success and is now trying to reach for new heights good luck joe, keep going lad YNWA

  5. everyone has had a go at Joe and sometimes it was deserved but i think Joe has improved into one of our better players and i am glad to see him in the team

  6. Harasses, haggles, annoys as good as anyone and better than most. Is an honest player who doesn’t pretend to be anything else but what he is. A good team is made up of all sorts of players, not all can be Gerrards’ and Suarez’.
    Gives 100% pretty much all the time and doesn’t deserve the sh*t he copes from fickle fans. Give me 10 Joe’s over 10 Bentekes and half the team any day.
    For his position ideally I’d love him to be over 6 foot with a few more kg’s, that’s all.

    • If he was 6ft with more physicality to his game, and good keeping his current technical abilities, he would be one of the best players on the pitch ;)

  7. Done very well this month and certainly deserves to get some regular game time between now and the end of this season. Having said that, I still don’t see him being here next season. Allen is only effective in a midfield 3 as his lack of physical prescence isn’t as exposed. I think Klopp will use a 4-2-3-1 formation long term in which case we’ll need much bigger and more athletic CMs, so Henderson, Can, Grujic and hopefully another top class signing to go into the first XI. Until then though he should be in the team as he’s currently contributing more than most.

  8. Of the current group and based on current form, Allen (along with Firmino) have been the best players in the team over the last month or so and he deserves a good deal of praise for that.

    That being said, I don’t think he’s good enough consistently to be a regular central midfielder in a top Premier League or European team – which is ultimately where we should be aiming to be.

    Could we honestly imagine Allen competing on a regular basis in the LFC midfield up against Modric/Kroos for Real or Rakitic/Busquets for Barca for example and doing anything other than being outplayed and overrun?

    If like me the answer is no, then we should replace him in the summer and let him move on to another club with our best wishes.

    • To be fair, there are not many sides that don’t struggle against Madrid, Barca, and Bayern. If you put Allen around quality players, though, I don’t see why he couldn’t play well against most teams in Europe. It think his problem is more the long ball gronks in the lower half of the PL than any Spanish side.

  9. At this point, I think he should be called “the Welsh Allen.” Not Xavi or Pirlo, don’t even call him Joe Allen. It should be simply the Welsh Allen from here on.

    It looks like Allen-Can-Henderson is very much the way forward. Can has always been a bit undisciplined as a DM, but Allen and Henderson have the intelligence and energy to cover for him. At the same time, Can’s youthful rampages give them a bit more bite as a unit.

    Played with Firmino and Coutinho further up, we have 5 tenacious pressers with the intelligence to hunt in packs knowing when to go and when to stay. At the same time, there is all the makings of fluid interplay, intensity, and desire. A fit Sturridge would make us a rather dangerous combination in the front six with Clyne and Flanagan providing width and stability.

    Allen has been showing all sorts of new gadgets in his locker ever since he put in a gorgeous cross against the Netherlands (look it up). Then the Gerrard-esque curler to Sturridge for the goal. Since then, he hasn’t looked back.

    Klopp wanted heavy metal football. Someone got the memo.

    • I like your thinking. People will say we can do better in midfield but, pending inbound players, those three should be able to do a job against most teams. Especially considering the creative talent they have ahead of them. All three have great energy, can play box to box and there are varying degrees of adventure that can be exploited when needed. With Coutinho and Firmino pulling the string we don’t necessarily need midfielders to be the creative force of the team.

      • In total agreement. A bit of flair up front and a clinical finisher and the midfield can provide pressure and fast transitions, as well as stability to go with that intensity.

        The beauty of Coutinho and Firmino is that they are both comfortable dropping deeper and making our play that much more fluid. I wouldn’t call it total football, but such a line up can be a very fluid, organic thing, especially as they become more familiar with each other.

        • That old Shankly quote: “A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing”. Allen, Henderson and Can are the kinds of guys who can help carry a piano while the masters up front will play it. It worked brilliantly when the three “players” were Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling, but of course all that creative talent is gone or broken. Coutinho, Firmino and a capable third is a trio we can hopefully rely on. I guess that’s what Teixeira was going to be for.

          • I heard that piano line first from the gents at The Anfield Wrap podcast, and it makes absolute sense to me. The real tragedy is that we’ve had an absolute Mozart on the sidelines injured since the start of last year. When you look at the Southampton game, it is immediately obvious how Sturridge raised everybody’s game. Suddenly all the piano carriers looked like real players.

    • Good point…. just one thing: Flanagan?

      Whilst he is dependable in defense, I have not seen him being dangerous on the sideline. Moreno or Smith is doing much more as compared to Flanagan before he got injured.

  10. Fans are really interesting. Granted there has been an upturn in Allens performances in recent weeks with some good moments in cup comps. But for me he’s not done enough over the duration of his contract to deserve another one. Basically, he can be upgraded on plus the likes of Branagan are coming through.

    • Agree… sell Allen, add some money on top and buy a top DM…

      Kids like Brannagan, Chirivella, Stewart and Grujic should be good enough for the squad roles next season….

  11. I’ve not been his biggest supporter but since klopps arrival, him and firminiho are the 2 most improved players out the lot,and let’s not forget everyone from now on in are playing for their futures make no mistake about it.

    Except mig , his contracts is in the bag.

    • Hopefully, the contract was merely protecting our assets for a summer transfer, or at least a number first choice keeper.

      It’s like a Bob Dylan song: how many howlers can one man make, before Klopp can hear the howls? I suppose the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

    • He’s always been very consistent. Neat and tidy and available to receive the ball and do well with it. Klopp makes him play 20 yards more up the field. So it’s not that hard he gets in the box more, scoring and assisting.

      • He’s also got a fair bit of graft to his game, knows how to draw a foul in dangerous areas.

        And I like that he lingers in the box near Benteke. Too often the big man has been isolated, but Allen is quietly waiting to pick up scraps and poach a goal. He’s not going to win many headers, but he’s got good reaction time if something drops into the mixer. And the energy to get back into position if nothing comes off.

  12. I still think he’ll be sold in the summer, I do believe he can be a key player for another team, just not us.
    But, at this moment, I do think he should play above Can. I like Can a lot, but his performances can be very hit and miss, I think a few games on the bench, take off some pressure from his shoulders, will do him the world of good.

    • i think the only missing thing from can is a goal. all he needs is a goal and i think the floodgate will open, not just goals, but also become a better all round player. let’s hope he gets one against leicester. as for allen, i always think he is just a little lightweight but no doubts about his fighting spirit. no one can sustain a high performance level game after game, so he will drop in form soon and the critics will come in droves. that’s how it is with our current team, lots of inconsistencies in terms of form and performance but we will get there with klopp in charge, i believe.

  13. A lot of people tipping Allen for January’s player of the month award but I think Firmino has been our best player by a long chalk. Playing as a false No.9 and thriving in this position, I feel he deserves it more than any other player.

  14. Some players have really blossomed under Klop, like Can, Lallana, Firminio , the young lads of course and none other than Allan.
    This will be great chance for Allan to get starting role and most especially the days when Milner, Henderson, Can, and others are to get a much needed rest or even come off the bench and also to give him much needed confidence.
    The days to treat him like a super sub has to stop

  15. Luckily for him there’s a good deal of games coming up. The Europa league starts in a forthnight and that’s definately games where he needs to start. Those are more his type of games then the WBA ones.

  16. Good player very honest however to be a force again we need upgrades on Henderson Milner Lucas and Allen none of who will help us make top four

    • definitely Milner and Allen. cannot see next season on -ve goal difference this late of the season like the current one.

      • As opposed to Lucas? Lucas is a phenomenal human being, but sadly his best days are behind him.

        Honestly, the problem with the squad is the ability to finish and defending. We may see a DM brought in, but I’d imagine that Can is being groomed for the position. Henderson is going nowhere. Milner is on wages that no one will match at his age, so there’s that.

        I would put all of our eggs in getting a truly elite goal scorer. Someone who will get us 25 goals a season consistently playing in a way that suits the rest of the squad.

        • we need squad players who are 30 – and doesn’t steal a living. moderate wage. adds unseen value – if anybody remember how things changed when Villa were rampant at Anfield when Lucas came in. Klopp needs to increase his intelligence by 25% to elicit 100% from Lucas. Lucas needs to improve 5-10% in ability. The same doesn’t apply to Mignolet Milner Lallana Allen – no manager has solution to these problems.

  17. Never liked d guy as a player for liverpool as he was always doin this sideways passing rubbish in the centre circle.
    I watched him a good bit recently (eg yesterday) Hes always available for a pass and no matter what tight situation that he recieves the ball in he never gives it away. Watch him folks. I have to say he has been showing a bit of fight since xmas and even if he doesnt end up staying I have to admire aguy who is doing the business right now after a few tough years on the bench.
    Never threw a strop once in all that time. Good on you Joe.

    • he never gave it away sorry what was is passing stats for west ham
      against stoke the very first pass was a mile off

  18. I’d say Allen doesn’t need to be starting regularly in the PL to be useful to the team. Games like this where young players need experience around them are perfect for him. Given that Liverpool will regularly want to compete across 4 competitions I think Allen is an ideal squad player and I’d have him at the club for the rest of his career just for that role.

  19. Honestly wanted to see a bit more from him in the tie against West Ham but can’t begrudge his was tidy and decent at the very least. The good news for players like Allen is there’s still many games and competitions left to play football in so he’ll get a chance. But he’ll probably have to continue pitching in with goals/assists.

  20. At least we have options now at fullback, which is a good change compared to few weeks ago when both Clyne and Moreno are playing every single game.

    I think it’s good to have a more attacking left full back especially when Coutinho plays there. He tends to drift inside and if we have a full back hugging the touchline, at least Coutinho have options.

  21. Do not understand the stats above. he is not good enough to start. If we want to remain a mid table team then fine start him, otherwise we need better quality. Both Can and Henderson are a better option as all round players and I like the look of both Branagan and Tex (I would like to see him get more game time). He is not strong enough for the DM and Stewart is looking like a very good prospect. Klopp will bring in more midfield cover in the Summer and Milner is ahead of Allen as well. Both could be in trouble next year.

  22. but thats what its all about the ex manager i see the ones on here now raving about allen are the same ones that tried to kid us rodgers walked on water
    he gets vastly overpraised because its a way for the rodgers cult to justify rodgers the same people are the ones that would still try and blame skrtel for every goal even though hes injried

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