Brendan Rodgers identifies unsung 'huge' player - but stats say otherwise

Joe Allen Liverpool

Rodgers believes that Joe Allen's absence has been a big loss for the Reds so far.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has suggested midfielder Joe Allen is one of the club's bigger players, but one that doesn't get the plaudits he deserves.

Allen has been absent for the Reds since the international break where he picked up a knee injury when playing for Wales against Andorra.

Since then, Liverpool haven't won any of their three League games, and made hard work of things against Ludogorets in the Champions League - where they needed a Steven Gerrard winner from the penalty spot - and in the League Cup where they progressed via a record breaking penalty shootout.

Rodgers is quoted in the Liverpool Echo updating the media on the fitness of striker Daniel Sturridge and he mentions Allen, saying: "When we bring back the likes of Daniel, who is influential for us, Joe Allen who has never been mentioned but is a huge player for us, and Emre Can, we will get better as the season goes on.”

However, the statistics from so far this season paint a different picture as he doesn't really excel in one particular key area:

  TeamPosAccurate passing %Duels won per gameTackles won %AppsMins
Emre Can Liverpool MF 95.83 2.50 66.67 2 44
Jordan Henderson Liverpool MF 87.91 4.67 70.00 6 540
Adam Lallana Liverpool MF 87.50 4.00 83.33 3 196
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 86.35 2.83 81.82 6 540
Joe Allen Liverpool MF 85.25 3.67 60.00 3 163
Lucas Leiva Liverpool MF 85.07 3.50 75.00 2 108
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool MF 83.52 3.00 100.00 4 256
Raheem Sterling Liverpool MF 78.30 6.50 100.00 6 464

Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana have played more minutes and have greater success in their passing accuracy - and Henderson and Lallana are also are ahead of him on duels won. Out of the midfielders that have played so far this season for the Reds in the Premier League, Allen is the lowest when it comes to percentage of tackles won.

However, Joe Allen does give Brendan Rodgers an element of flexibility when it comes to how he sets the side up. When he first came to Liverpool, the Welshman was played in a deeper role, but Rodgers has since used him in a more advanced role when he has used his pressing and energy to the side's advantage as Liverpool look to win the ball as high up the field as possible. Since his absence, Rodgers has seemed more accustomed to playing a midfielder alongside Steven Gerrard in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation which has so far accommodated the improving Adam Lallana.

On the eye, it seems Allen has improved since his arrival from Swansea City in 2012. Maybe he is the kind of player whose value is worth more than any collection of data can prove.

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