Is another central midfielder a priority for Liverpool?

There were a lot of calls for Liverpool to strengthen the middle of the park in the January transfer window, but do they really need to?

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen has said that is hard to get a starting place in Liverpool’s midfield at the moment.

The Welsh midfielder has made 14 league appearances so far this season – seven of them from the start and says that the competition for places in that area is one of the good things this season.

Allen is quoted saying: ‘It does get harder and harder to get into the team. But that can only be a good thing.

‘That’s something that has been great this season, the competition for places.’

Allen has had his fair share of injuries this campaign. He limped off in the League Cup win against Notts County with a thigh injury. It was only from December onwards he started to get a run in the side when he started to impress but his adductor injury against Chelsea came at the wrong time.

Combined with the knee injury picked up by Lucas Leiva, Brendan Rodgers' preferred central midfield three since then has been Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson.

Many have highlighted the central midfield as an area that Liverpool need to strengthen in the transfer market in order to take them to the next level.

Although there have been times when the midfield has been exposed in home games such as against Aston Villa and Swansea, along with the defeat at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal earlier on in the season, different personnel in the middle of the park have worked well.

For example their win over Arsenal, where the trio of Lucas, Allen and Henderson excelled; while the trio of Gerrard, Henderson and Coutinho were effective and simply too much for Everton and Arsenal in thumping wins at Anfield.

Some will say that part of Liverpool’s defensive frailty this season is down to ineffective defensive midfield play, yet you could argue that one of them has been out of action in the most glaring of those performances, and that other players are capable of fulfilling the role very well – it is just a question of teamwork in not leaving individuals exposed at times.

image: © Ruaraidh Gillies

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