Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen has hailed the man who he replaced in the starting line-up in yesterday’s 3-2 win over Norwich as ‘a machine’.
Allen was talking about Jordan Henderson who began his three match ban after receiving a red card towards the end of Liverpool’s win over Manchester City last weekend.
He told the Liverpool website: “Jordan has been incredible all season, he’s been a machine.
“But the beauty of this squad is that we’ve got great players that can come in and the team performance doesn’t suffer. It was great to have an opportunity to start the game and be part of a winning performance.”
Allen had a big job this weekend as Henderson has appeared in every game this season prior to his suspension and is viewed as an integral part of the Liverpool team. Henderson is renowned for pressing, winning possession for his side and forcing errors. Much of the talk in the away end at Carrow Road yesterday was the impressive performance of Allen in the middle of the park, despite being on the end of a very poor challenge from Robert Snodgrass with the Scot possibly a little fortunate to still remain on the field.
For a smaller figure, Allen showed his toughness in the game and was the man who'd won the most challenges in the middle of the park for the visitors yesterday as Liverpool went with three specialist central midfield players against a Norwich City side that pressed the league leaders very high up the field.
There was a key moment in the first half of the game when Liverpool looked as if they were struggling at the back, and Allen thwarted the Canaries' attack with two terrific blocks which, at the time, preserved Liverpool's two goal cushion.
What Henderson is renowned for is hard work, and winning duels from midfield usually represents a player that hassles the opposition, shows a bit of urgency and doesn't want to go away. Despite being substituted, as he was seen with an ice-pack on his leg after the final whistle, he won more duels than any other Liverpool player in the midfield. It's safe to say that Allen put in a good shift yesterday.
He also possessed an attacking threat. Before Liverpool doubled their early lead through Luis Suarez, neat interplay involving Allen led to the Welshman forcing a terrific save from John Ruddy as well as a shot from distance not being too far away from goal.
It was a good performance from Allen yesterday, and after some fans were unconvinced at the club over whether he was worth the £15m paid to Swansea City for his services - or whether he was good enough for Liverpool. This was another display that showed he is a very important part of the side that currently sits top of the Premier League.