What now for Joe Allen at Liverpool?

The Welshman had an underwhelming start to life at Anfield last term and as he returns to the fold from injury faces a battle to feature regularly.

Joe Allen has become something of a forgotten man at Liverpool, as the Wales international has been on the sidelines with injury while his side have been progressing on the pitch. Yet to prove his true worth to the Kop, Allen looks set to return to availability soon after being blighted in the early days of this term with a hamstring injury.

Allen was a man that Brendan Rodgers wanted to base his possession game around at Liverpool, as the Welsh star had proven a focal point in the Swansea midfield in their debut campaign in the Premier League. The tireless midfielder epitomised both the hard work and the technically brave approach that saw the Liberty Stadium club become an instant Premier League hit in their debut campaign in the top flight.

A few eyebrows were raised at the size of the transfer fee when Allen followed Rodgers to Merseyside, £15 million, and it appears that the midfielder has felt the burden of responsibility that comes with this exaggerated sum of money.

Last term Allen made 27 Premier League appearances for the Reds, 21 as a starter, but failed to score or truly show what he is capable of for his new club. Every player should be allowed a bedding-in period when moving clubs, and it appeared that the Wales international needed his, as rarely were his performances for his new side as rounded as those that he became accustomed for at Swansea.

With a season under his belt, the bedding-in period is over and it is now up to Allen to show that he is worthy of a place in the Liverpool side. His first priority will be to get back to match fitness, and then to get opportunities to impress in the first-team.

However, getting a look-in may well be difficult for Allen now that Rodgers has switched to a 3-5-2 system. The former Swansea man will compete with Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva for the two central midfield spots and will need to be at his best to stand a chance of playing.

There is no doubting that Allen has a unique skillset that could well be of real benefit to the Merseyside club. At Swansea he showed the ability to keep the ball, win it back from opponents and displayed an excellent range of passing.

It is worth mentioning that Allen had only played one season in the top flight before moving to Liverpool and at 23 he still has a lot to learn. Whether he is given the time at Liverpool to develop into a player capable of starting week-in, week-out for a club with top-four ambitions remains to be seen.


image: © helly - b

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