Ever since Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers paid £15 million for the Welsh Xavi, Joe Allen, quite a bit of criticism has come in for the ex-Swansea man. Because of Allen playing under Rodgers during his spell at Swansea City many have ignorantly identified the move as one of favouritism, even Alan Shearer angered Rodgers for comments about not taking too many risks with his passing back in October.
Allen’s passing seemed to be the reason that Rodgers brought him into Liverpool in order to use him as the holding metronome that gets the ball and plays it simple to Gerrard who then sprays the ball toward the wing or to Suarez. 90.4 % of Allen’s passing is successful and he makes an average of 60 passes per game but that is to be expected when you are ‘too cautious’ to borrow Alan Shearer’s words.
The part of Allen’s game that goes unnoticed and is perhaps the most important part in the context of the Liverpool team is his ability to win back possession. According to stats from the 19th of December, Joe Allen had won back possession 147 times for his team, 86 of those times happen in the midfield area.
This is a vitally important skill to have and although Allen hasn’t opened his Anfield account or made a direct assist for Liverpool, there is no doubt in my mind that he has started at least one goal by winning the ball and giving it to one of his more attacking colleagues.
When Rodgers recently let former winner of Bundesliga player of the season Nuri Sahin go from his loan deal without ever really playing him in position for a prolonged amount of time I thought that he might be missing a trick but Rodgers sees something in Allen that no one else does.
I like to think he has Neo’s matrix vision but instead of seeing green code its just the words tiki and taka everywhere and they come together to form the Catalan flag when he see’s a potential ‘one’..
It has taken a while for Rodgers vision of the club to come together and when Daniel Sturridge, then later Fabio Borrini, came on against Manchester United it felt as though we were seeing a preview of what he has planned. Joe Allen looks to be an essential cog in the machine which Rodgers has built from the bottom upwards.
You can arguably trace Liverpool’s demise back to when Xabi Alonso left after the harsh treatment of Rafa Benitez, who actually thought Gareth Barry was better, and Liverpool have never replaced the brilliantly masterful Spanish midfielder but with Allen, Gerrard and Lucas in midfield and a choice of Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling and Borrini to choose from up front things maybe starting to look a bit more optimistic in the North West for another team in red.