ON one of our shows recently, after the Crystal Palace cup game, Steve Graves said that Joe Allen ‘couldn’t Joe Allen himself out of being lightly thought of by many at Anfield’.
If Mignolet or Balotelli have a run of nine out of 10 games there will be more saves, better goalkeeping; more goals and better touches. But Allen is stuck in a situation where if he does what he does very well, he should, in a sense become more invisible. Winning it back economically, shifting it on economically, being your eighth most demonstrative outfield player with the ball (behind Emre Can — and possibly even Mamadou Sakho — at centre back) especially in the final third means he can’t ‘impress’ with a neon arrow above him.
I thought, yeah, Steve’s talking a ton of sense there. Then we played against Southampton and Allen was Liverpool’s outstanding performer in a first half where they looked like they might get blown away while winning 1-0.
It was Allen, not Jordan Henderson, who wrested control of the game back from Southampton from about the 16th minute until the 40th. It was Allen who covered and chased, Allen who found the right areas when Liverpool did or didn’t have the ball, Allen who got us playing diagonals forward and relieved the pressure. That the demonstrative players ahead and around him then failed to capitalise emphasised how well he was doing. He was being very, very Joe Allen. We could all see it and we could see how much we needed it.
And so at half time I thought, God, Joe Allen’s had Steve Graves right off here. He’s Joe Allened this brilliantly. Everyone will be on to this. Then I read John Gibbons’s match ratings. SIX. Bloody six out of 10.
Game of opinions.
That’s just the thing. Every now and again a player comes along at Anfield who splits the crowd. There’s a cliché we need to dodge here which is the idea that there is a cognoscenti who can see something others can’t, maybe use some diagrams as well to emphasise that. People who’d give Joe Allen 6/10 for his performance at Southampton aren’t stupid; they themselves can find diagrams and statistics to buttress their case, I’m sure. The point of view isn’t invalid, just because I happen to vehemently disagree with it specifically in the case of Southampton away and slightly vehemently in general.
During his two and two third seasons at Anfield, Allen has amassed 84 appearances. For his first six to 10 games he looked very good. Then he went off the boil and we saw what a bad Joe Allen game looks like. He recovered towards the end of 2012-13 before getting an injury at the start of the 2013-14 season. His game at Goodison in late November was only his second start of the campaign and he was playing brilliantly before missing from six yards at 1-2. Then his head fell off and he had to be substituted due to lacking a head. However he then started against Norwich, West Ham, Tottenham and Cardiff City in succession and then he got another niggling injury after the arduous Christmas programme.
He’s on the bench when The Reds decimate Arsenal as the start of the big run and starts nine of the remaining games that season, coming off the bench in most of those he doesn’t start. He wins a penalty at Old Trafford and scorers the opener in Liverpool’s 0-6 win at Selhurst Park which he barely celebrates. That he played such a key role in the run-in has found itself slightly glossed over by Suarez’s level (which was on the decline, though from a very high point), Gerrard’s rejuvenation and Sterling blossoming. Yet Allen was on the pitch far more often than not and even his substitute appearances bear recollection. He changed the game when he came on against Swansea, offering Liverpool a modicum of control which really had been lacking.
This season things haven’t been as rosy for Allen, just as they haven’t been for Liverpool. There’s a desire to see a player play really well when the side aren’t. If you are primarily facilitating others then you suffer if they don’t perform. Regardless though, it would be good for everyone if Allen could find a way to make himself a little more obviously impacting on the pitch and when you are featuring in a run of defeats as Allen did this season, it’d be nice for everyone to be able to walk away and feel as though Joe Allen did everything he could to stop that from happening — as you are able to feel about, say, Lucas Leiva.
Further, it’d give the opposition a bit more to worry about. You can’t cover everything on a football pitch but Allen may well often find himself with a little more space than, say Henderson, because he isn’t as likely to drive into it. Him being short I don’t think helps either.
Another problem Allen’s had is he was signed for £15m as per a clause in his deal combined with Brendan Rodgers breaking a promise he made to Swansea City about not buying any of their lads. Manager in breaks promise shocker. If we wanted him, £15m was the fee. Brendan Rodgers wanted him very much and so it was £15m. Rodgers then spent a lot of time talking him up in the first half of 2012-13 and Allen became synonymous with Rodgers’s perceived or actual shortcomings. (Mostly perceived if you ask me, but that’s a discussion for another time).
It’s not dissimilar to Kenny Dalglish and Charlie Adam if not for the fact that there was (rightly) so much goodwill for Kenny it extended itself to Charlie and that Charlie Adam and Joe Allen are about as chalk and cheese as two midfielders, two footballers and, you suspect, two humans can be.
In the binary nature of transfer successes and failures, Allen tends to be lumped in with the failures. All that money on a midfielder, very few goals. However, there’s every chance he remains a Liverpool squad player for the next five seasons; every chance he gets himself 20 league starts in those seasons and five to 10 telling substitute appearances.
I very much hope he does. He’s Liverpool’s most pleasing bits and pieces player in years — one who plays the game in front of him and around him, not his own game. A player very effective when sides are penned in, a player who reads the game well and has a good touch. He needs to be surround by lads who score the goals he doesn’t, but he isn’t a problem that needs to be solved. It suits he is the eighth most obtrusive of 10. Consistently improve the other eight and we can argue about Allen while we win far more games than we lose.
Transfers aren’t binary. This season is fast becoming testament to that. A summer which looked great then looked a disaster and now looks on the healthier side of alright again. Football isn’t binary. You don’t just have great games or poor ones. Joe Allen’s greatest strength as a footballer may well be that he doesn’t succeed or fail every time he gets on the pitch. He’s there, Joe Allening, splitting opinion more often than he splits defences. Getting it, giving it, keeping it ticking over. Getting people playing.
Here, now, that will do far more often than it will not.
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The words can and worms spring to mind. Robin Crimes will be all over this!
Great writing as always Neil.
He was taken off at half time on account of having no head :) fab
I just found it odd that he was getting slated after the Palace game and felt it was my duty to speak up.
Joe Allan should never be anywhere near a Liverpool FC shirt ever again. Does not contribute enough either going forwards or backwards. Lacks physical strength and mobility, kind of creative spark and is often bullied out of games. He doesn’t score goals from midfield and in the modern game, your midfield players have to chip in with goals and assists. He must feel a very very lucky boy because he is playing well above his level. Liverpool FC should not be settling for mediocrity. Joe Allan and the likes should be sold in the summer. Poor buy and I hope Brendan Rodgers is honest enough in the summer to admit this and act upon it by moving “the Welsh Xavi” on. (what an insult to Xavi) If I see Joe Allan playing for Liverpool next season I’d have to question Brendan Rodgers motives for keeping him.
fixing my typo – lacks any kind of creative spark
That Joe Allan you describe sounds awful.
Good thing we have Joe Allen who contributes to the squad.
But you must be right, Sell Joe Allan !
You know as much about his quality as you know the spelling of his name.
Read the article!
He’s Joe Allen, not Allan. If you watched him playing on a regular basis you would know how to spell his name.
Yea. he doesn’t score goals. But neither did Mascherano, yet he’s beloved by supporters.
Allen has never been bought to be a goalscorer. Of cause we all dream of a team made 100% of spectacular players making that insane stuff that throws you off your feet, but you need the balanceplayers to give theese kind of players room for their stuff.
Have to agree with Neil here. Every team needs a Joe Allen – or perhaps three. Guys that do all the stuff that you don’t notice but that is essential to winning. Keeping the ball for one – if Liverpool has the ball then the other team doesn’t, see – and there are few better at LFC at keeping the ball than Joe Allen.
“scores the opener in Liverpool’s 0-6 win at Selhurst Park”
from now on I choose to believe this happened instead!!!
The problem with these kind of players (similar to Lucas), is that we as fans will always wonder about getting an upgrade. Lucas and Allen are no Masch and Alonso…
Still, I’m happy with his contribution to the revival and wouldn’t mind seeing him as the squad player you mention for a few years to come.
Oddly enough Lucas is a hybrid of Masch and Alonso. A better defensive player than Xabi, but not as good a passer, a better passer than Masch, but not as mobile.
He’s a great squad player. Good enough to come in or come on and do a job. Not a first choice, but a very capable replacement. It’s not his fault he cost £15m or that his manager set him up to fail. He’s a solid deputy for Lucas and Henderson, I never wince when I see his name in the starting eleven. I do when I see Lovren!
Wince when I see them both (especially in the same starting XI).
Got to disagree with Neil and yourself, Joe Allen isn’t good enough to be at Liverpool, simple as that. Don’t hate him, he gives what he has but that isn’t enough. The amount of times he gets caught wrong side of the man, moves too far out of centre midfield allowing the opposition to move into what should be his space or sells himself easily is appalling and his last ditch tackles to make up for this lack the timing required, indeed he almost (and perhaps should have) cost us a penalty on Sunday.
Also, going forward, this team relies on pace and movement and the ball slows when it arrives at his feet. Keeping possession is all well and good if you’ve got “The Actual Xavi” and Iniesta and Messi and Neymar and Suarez and Alves and Mascherano and Pique et al, we haven’t and are best when moving it quick and I don’t think he fits into that and by slowing it up he loses us the attacking impetus.
I don’t think it’s helped him in we (fans) probably don’t know what his best role is, we’ve used him as a holding midfielder, attacking midfielder, on either side of the diamond and as one of a regular two in central midfield and he seems to offer the same in all positions, which at least shows consistency, but does that make him good enough for Liverpool? Not in my opinion. His flaws and performances outweigh that and ultimately that’s the question that was asked.
Allen is simply NOT good enough. Poor passer even in his favourite direction – backwards. No goal threat, stupid fouls often in dangerous positions at crucial times, easily dispossessed.
Out of curiosity James, do you have a brother Kevin and a Dad Terry?
Depends who’s asking really, if it’s HMRC, the CSA or some other Government agency, then absolutely not!!
If, however, you’re from the normal universe then I may well do, yes. How do you know them, PK?
“scorers the opener in Liverpool’s 0-6 win at Selhurst Park”
I know you lads like Allen but re-writing history isn’t going to convince the rest of us he’s anything other than ‘King of the sideways pass’. Along with many in the current squad, he’s not good enough for a Liverpool with dreams of domestic and European domination.
any 1sayng allen is not good enough doesnt understand football at all he is d player i really think makes our team stable and always at right place at right time if utd had allen they would b close to man city now even though many wpuld not agree
He’s a transition player, either involved in stopping something, or starting something, but not really involved in the thing he’s stopped or started. I mainly come out of Anfield thinking he’s been shit, because you don’t really see what he does, you only notice him if fucks up doing it. Eye-catching goals or crunching tackles aren’t his job, he just quietly closes space, keeps shape and keeps tempo. Not sure if he’s good enough or not, but I think that all of them…… Proof will be in the pudding.
The phrase is ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’, unless of course you are calling Allen a pudding.
The Kenny/Adam comparison made me a sad panda, Neil. I prefer the young Lucas/Rafa comparison where everyone who’s unsure picks out a struggling signing as the scapegoat for everything they dislike about the manager.
in a time of 25 man squads, having someone like Joe Allen makes a lot of sense. When everyone is fit, Joe Allen should rarely make the match day 18, nevermind the starting 11, but he looks like a player who won’t go beating on the managers door because he’s a bit part player. He’s not going to rock the boat when players like Gerrard, Henderson, Lucas & Can keep him out of the team. They should be keeping him out of the team.
Anyone that knows me will tell you I’ve no love for Joe Allen (that’s putting it mildly), but the above is why we should be holding onto him IMO. Lucas faced stiff opposition from a lot of our fans (not me) simply because he wasn’t Mascherano or Alonso, but he found his place in the team and, with our current style and system, would be the 1st name on my team sheet every week. If Joe Allen has an aspirations of being more than the player he currently is he should look at what Lucas did to get where he is.
All this is well and good but if Allen rightly concedes a penalty against Saints and we end up drawing 1-1 the narrative is totally different. As it is I thought he did pretty well making one absolutely crucial tackle when GlenJo got made to look like a training dummy. Other than that though I don’t think he retains possession better than Lucas for example. There were times when Wanyama just manhandled him which wouldn’t have happened to a Lucas. And the fact he never looks for the killer pass isn’t a good thing. You don’t want players that press too much (Gerrard a lot recently and Hendo sometimes) but I’d take that kind of player over Allen’s conservatism. He’s clearly an important squad player but in fantasy draft terms (ie which players would you take before Allen) he’s waaay down the list in this squad.
Yeah I see what you mean about the penalty shout but surely in the same Way that Skrtel’s absutely terrible defending the that led to that situation the fact that it wasn’t given means we look at the overall game instead of that moment. I have been spending the last couple of days feeling lime I have gone mad with the lack.of talk about Skrtel chasing Pelle and missing the header when he should have just held his position. Am I really the only one who saw this?
He’s our Sammy Lee.
Joe Allen is good enough for this current squad but not for the level we are aspiring for.
Allen is Schrodinger’s Cat. He exists in a continual state of both brilliance and awfulness depending on the actions of the observer.
Excellent summary Neil, three points I might add, all of which disagree with each other:
1. All those great things he does, which I agree are very valuable, could we not find someone who does those things and scores the odd thirty yarder? Or takes corners? Or can mark a tall person at set pieces?
2. In many ways I see him as the perfect post-Gerrard Liverpool player – he will always be good enough for our squad, but never so good that he wants to move to a elite club or one that will pay him £250k a week. We must learn to embrace these sorts of players. I, for one, am not looking forward to the day little Phil reveals his lifelong dream of playing for PSG…
3. He is the epitome of Rodgers Mk1. Possession, possession, possession. We are either in Rodgers Mk2 or 3 now, but both are much more exciting. Watching him in this current team, I can’t help but feel disappointed that he’s not beating 10 men without breaking a sweat like almost everyone in front of him.
Schrodinger’s Cat, I like that.
What I see in Allen is someone who knows about pressing in threes, which is why I assumed Rodgers got him in and said on a forum back then, that he was there to teach others Brendan’s system. ‘Teach Gerrard, fuck off’ was the sentiment that thought brought up…
Well, that’s what he does. He gets into faces and is constantly one of three either attacking the ball or closing down options for the ball to go to.
Seriously, watch him off the ball. He’s astutely tactically switched on.
Of course you can better players to play his role, but I doubt to the level he takes his positioning seriously.
He’s the cox of the Liverpool boat, setting the pace and dictating the tempo. I’d just like him to do it better. A word that I don’t see associated with Joe Allen is ‘metronomic’, but it’s entirely possible that the constant clicking noise is just his gammy shoulder.
Just ask yourself a question. Would Joe Allen be in the starting eleven for Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal even the Man ure? I think you’ll know the answer.
With Henderson and Lucas, yes I would have him in there of a mid 3.
You never mentioned Allen’s dire performances against Basel home & Man Utd away. He was wretched and directly responsible for the goals scored against us. Admittedly, he’s been better since then but I have no confidence in the lad going forward.
I’m pleased to see an article on Joe Allen because this debate is happening among Liverpool fans the world over. Topical articles are the best. There are plenty of people who don’t rate Joe Allen, that’s fine. It’s down to Joe Allen to convince them, not me but it’s the manner of the some of the arguments that do my head in. One, particularly, is Joe Allen doesn’t score or assist enough. That’s a valid view but you can’t back it up with Lucas is far better it’s just unfair. Lucas’s last league goal was 6 years ago and his assists you can count on your thumbs in his 8 seasons. I’m not wanting to do Lucas down to make a point about Allen because I think they’re both good players and good blokes off the pitch. I’m as pleased as everyone else Lucas is back to the form he showed in that brilliant season he had before his injury but I think only one of them will be at Anfield next season and that’s Allen. Recently, someone said to me on here that we over payed for him. As Neil backs up far better than I could, we knew at the time we were getting a £10m player for £15m. I remember hoping at the time we could settle for £12m and pay £2m over. That’s how it was. Back to the lad on here, we should sell him because there are far better £15m players around. Ok then, let’s sell Allen for £15m. There’s a major flaw in that argument too which he’d just pointed out. Double standards. When others come back into the side they need time to adjust. When Allen comes back in he’s immediately useless. Some people have poisoned their own minds and will probably never ‘get him’. Then we have vocal fans on other subjects. I fuckin hate this Henderson ‘love in’ he’s shit, just runs round a lot. That Sakho’s rubbish, can’t pass the ball, worse than Djimi Traoré! Rodgers got lucky with Suarez! Another slightly related one is, I was never one of those who said Lucas was shit. Shows what you know then doesn’t it. That said, there are plenty of people who don’t rate him who make valid points. I only make the point that there’s a lot of shit opinions around as well as good ones on any given subject.
So, Joe Allen does divide opinion. He’s not the first and he won’t be the last, it’s possible time will tell. I can see both sides of the argument but what isn’t up for debate with me is his performances against Palace and Southampton. He did well. He was good enough to play for LFC. To say otherwise is ridiculous. If he gets a run in the side he could turn out to be a really good player because he’s shown glimpses of it.
From his recent book, Luis Suarez on Joe Allen:
“I thought he was an excellent signing. Brendan knew him really well from their time at Swansea and Joe’s first few games were fantastic. He was very good with the ball, he fitted the philosophy perfectly and defensively he was exceptional; above all, he understood the movements Brendan wanted straight away, while Stevie [Gerrard] and Jordan Henderson began a process of adapting to his style.
From my point of view, there was something in that idea of Joe as the Welsh Xavi.”
You don’t notice Joe Allen unless you actively look at what he is doing. He is only on the ball for a moment and rarely goes to ground for a tackle. I’ve taken to calling him the “Artful Dodger” because he’s a bit of a pickpocket and he’s the size of a small child. Hopefully, he takes the Lucas injury as an opportunity to shine (quietly). Probably wouldn’t have got an extended run, otherwise, and Rodgers may swallow his pride and buy a proper DM this summer.
“You don’t notice Joe Allen……….” Kind of sums it all up really. A ball near Can and you’re wondering will he charge forward? Coutinho in possession;will he beat three men and have a shot? Will Moreno burst forward at full tilt?
Joe Allen.What? Was he playing?
And yet it’s the things you don’t notice about Allen that make him effective.He might be not be spectacular but he keeps the momentum and for a lad of his stature he isn’t afraid to get stuck in.
In some ways he’s similar to Ronnie Whelan in that he makes the job look easy.And that’s a compliment to both of them!
I agree with the ‘Joe Allen as squad player’ thinking, and I can get behind it most of the time. He has a decent work rate and goes about his business well and without fuss but I have a real issue with his passing. Joe Allen will never pass the ball forward if there’s a sideways or backwards pass to be had. It’s the single most frustrating thing about him and it is infuriating. Maybe it’s a confidence thing or maybe it’s an instruction but I swear it’s a by-product of the Swansea pseudo tikka takka football where possession was everything and playing for a draw was okay. Trouble is, in the pacy, attacking style of the current LFC he’s let so many attacks disintegrate by looking sideways and backwards for a pass rather than trying to play it forward I wonder if it can ever be trained out of him.
Confidence may be an issue – but I don’t think he has ever been assailed by moans by sections of the crowd like Lucas was and Lovren is.
Tikka takka just allows the opponent’s defenders to organise themselves. The alleged architect of it – Guardiola – says it’s rubbish and it’s hard to disagree. In fact he claims to be insulted that the ‘style’ is associated with him.
Joe Allen is an okay footballer, but he’s not the best at what he does in the club. But sometimes you have to look at who is playing alongside a player to properly gauge his worth. And that has been debated already via a vis Allen, Henderson, and Lucas above all. And now Lovren is starting to be afforded the same revisionist leeway. It may take a while for him to endear himself, though, if ever. He looks out of place and is not the leader we wear promised.
Allen is a poor man’s Claudio Marchisio, however, if he stays fit and the team keeps playing well he will contribute in meaningful ways. Problem also seems that he lacks the drive and passion to inspire others around him. Playing that role well is fine, but he could offer more intangibles if he isn’t going to try and improve his game in other areas. As far as starting for the current top four sides, I think given a healthy run he could start for ManU and Arsenal as their midfield isn’t spectacular, but no way at Chelsea or City.
But then what are you asking of the midfield? Are you asking them to break froward and get in the box all the time, leaving space for others to defend. Or are you asking them to nullify a superior costing midfield. When you play those percentages, you can see where a player like Joe Allen fits in.
As for breaks forward. They are either on or not. Depends who’s in front and how the other team pulls back. And what the score is. It’s a 90 minute game, so there are a load of variables to consider whether its a lateral pass or a keep sideways/back pass.
Should have been longitude rather than lateral…
Personally, I’m not really concerned about whether Lucas scored or assisted much (or at all), or whether most clubs lack a player in Allen’s position who scores or assists, either. Most clubs don’t truly compete for the League – or even for top four, so that argument is kind of neither here nor there. Liverpool’s goal this year was top four and a trophy, and it’s hard to do that when you have a midfield that’s short on goals. Allen needs to contribute. Does he need to contribute a lot? No. But he needs to contribute. The same goes for Lucas – or any other player who takes up that spot.
Nor is that my opinion, per se. Allen getting on the scoreboard more is a challenge Brendan Rodgers laid at his feet – not the Kop, or the courts of popular opinion.
It’s not that I don’t like Joe Allen, I just don’t think he gives us enough to be one of the our starting midfielders.
He’s most definitely not a poor player as some would have you believe……it’s just that’s he’s not that great either.
I can see how he keeps the ball moving etc etc but is that really good enough to be a Liverpool midfielder??
Some compare him to Lucas…I would disagree. Lucas wins a massive amount of his tackles and headers, his positioning is fantastic and knows exactly where to be to break down opposition attacks. That’s not Allen at all. He’s not winning headers and frequently gets muscled off the ball. He’s not scoring, he’s not taking players on, he’s not assisting. He’s just there, passing the ball about but as I say is that really enough?
Best thing I could say about Allen is that he’s a decent sub but that’s about it. It’s not his fault he came in as a £15mil midfielder and described as the “Welsh xavi” but let’s face it…he’s neither really is he?!
Well he is Welsh, isn’t he?
He’s not really a £15mil midfielder or anywhere near Xavi.
I can see how you made the misunderstanding.
Just joking, mate. Yeah, he was a 7-9m player whose price was inflated because Brendan poached him.
He’s been looking better, but he’s no Jan Molby
Funny somebody said what I’ve been telling mates for a while. Allen has a Ronnie Whealan footballing personality without the goals. Would love to know how a run of starts would do him.
Joe Allen is the plasterer you call when old long serving fella is sick. He will show up early, does great work even though he might not be the fastest. Not the greatest craic over the cuppa and doesn’t fancy a pint. But he’s the first lad you call if you need a dig out. And you are really hoping he’s available. He doesn’t mind waiting for the call..doesn’t get the strop that he’s not the main lad..just gets on with being good.
Suarez quote above says it all. These days we are not the Liverpool of 20 years ago, challenging for everything. We need him because he plays his role well. And the better names we’ve looked at beinging in have so far voted with their feet.
I think Joe knows he’s not likely to have a song and luckly for us i dont think he’s insecure enough to give two fucks!
I for one would love for him to jump up a level in the goal scoring department..but i feel the same about Mario another £15 M “sub”!
“Football isn’t binary”
If you could tell every football fan on Twitter that, I’d be delighted!
For what it’s worth, I like Joe Allen. In a world where anyone can find a player’s goals and assists tally he seems not to contribute, but I took a brief look last season at goal involvement in a move prior to the actual assist or goal, and he was confributing more frequently in that regard than the likes of Henderson, Sterling, and Gerrard.
Perhaps that’s a function of where he plays on the pitch, but he doesn’t give the ball away too often and usually keeps us moving. I think he’s exactly the kind of player you need in a squad.
He is Peter Cormack reincarnated. Not in the style of the player Cormack was, nor in the position they played – Cormack played much further forward.
But Bill Shankly thought that Peter Cormack was good enough for Liverpool Football Club, and unheralded as the player was, he (Shanks) was right – he contributed to us winning the League for the first time in eight years, as well as a UEFA Cup and trundled on for a little while longer before leaving before we conquered Europe.
I’m neither comparing Cormack to Allen or (God forbid) Shanks to Rodgers, but I think Brendan is spot on with Joe – he’s a good player – certainly no worse than Kevin MacDonald or Spackman (who won doubles with us) or Darren Fletcher who won loads with Utd or Mikel / Milner etc.. etc.. etc…
He’s a good player, Joe – it wouldn’t worry me if he played every League game for us this season and next.
Spot on, Steve.
People forget just how effective Allen is at breaking up play. He is an excellent presser, not just in technique and tenacity, but also how he knows when to press in tandem with others to hound the ball. He cuts off supply lines, positions himself in the way, and strips the ball off players rather than going to ground (less fouls). Once he has stripped the ball, he transitions immediately into attack.
Since none of these involve dribbles, in fact he only has the ball for a moment (one reason why he maintains possession so well), and he doesn’t go in for dramatic tackles, it is easy to miss what he has done.
As was mentioned on the podcast recently, he is also someone who frequently sets up the assist – a vital task, but generally one that is clipped out of highlight reels.
If you go back to his record last season, we were something like 16-4-2 with him in the side. It’s worse this season, because everyone was worse, but his win ratio is actually better than Suarez’s at LFC.
Great article Neil. The first time I have seen anyone acknowledge that Suarez dropped off in the final third of the season. As did Sturridge too to be fair, as you pointed out from very high levels, but it was Sterling that was the outstanding performer in the team as we valiantly fell just short.
You’re right too about the element of control he brought. His contribution in wrestling the game back from Swansea at 3-3 was crucial, a draw then would’ve harmed our chances, our momentum and possibly our confidence. He was often Brendan’s ‘go-to man’ during that crucial period when we needed control in games.
A previous poster on here (my apologies for not remembering who) highlighted Allen’s run back to make the tackle on Djuricic for the disputed 2nd penalty claim on Sunday. Watch it again, see the ground he covers, as pointed out he makes an unsuccessful tackle but gets away with it. There is no other midfielder in our squad (apart from Hendo obviously) who gets back and covers that. Otherwise it’s a free shot on goal and most likely an equaliser at a critical point in the game. He gets Skrtel and Can out of jail after they both went for the same ball.
I actually do understand why some people don’t get what he does but he very much reminds me of Ronnie Whelan in that you can often notice his contribution more when he is not there. Very close to MoM with Skrtel for me on Sunday.
Couldn’t agree more with the Adam v Allen comparison too Neil
Apologise for the rushed style but I’m at work and wanted to contribute here with my opinion on the matter. My Points still stand this time with the correct spelling of his name – Joe ALLEN should never be anywhere near a Liverpool FC shirt next season. Not good enough. Does’t contribute enough either going forwards or defensively. Too many square and backwards passes. Lacks physical strength and mobility and any kind of creative spark and is often bullied out of games.
He doesn’t score goals from midfield and in the modern game, your midfield players have to chip in with goals and assists. You even hear Brendan Rodger talking about numbers meaning goals and assists. Allen seems to escape this rule. Even Henderson was given a target of 10 goals this season. Don’t tell me Allen plays differently. I see Henderson playing square passes, ticking it over, keeping possession, dropping deep to pick the ball up but at least Hendo attempts to create and be a presence in the box.
Joe Allen doesn’t carry enough presence or know how to play as a DM because he is easily bullied and his lack of strength and running power means he is often caught in front of the ball and unable to recover. This also suggests he isn’t reading danger in the fashion of a Lucas type player. Therefore other than being completely anonymus throughout matches, playing 10 yard square and backwards passes which by the way he never follows quickly enough in order to offer a return pass like a true playmaker does (Watch Xabi Alonso), what purpose is he serving when he plays other than to justify Brendan Rodger £15 Million spent.
He must feel a very very lucky boy because he is playing at a club well above his level. Joe Allen and the likes should be sold in the summer. Poor buy and I hope Brendan Rodgers is honest enough in the summer to admit this and act upon it by moving “the Welsh Xavi” on (what an insult to Xavi). If I see Joe Allen playing for Liverpool next season I’d have to question Brendan Rodgers motives for keeping him.
Just my opinion fellas, not saying I’m right and anyone is wrong here. Just wanted to contribute my opinion on Joe Allen. Probably a really decent chap and nothing personal against him but again to answer the question in the OP – IS JOE ALLEN GOOD ENOUGH FOR LFC? , it’s a no from me. Sorry Joe.
I completely agree with Michael – He doesn’t do enough. Keeping the ball moving isn’t enough to be a Liverpool midfield player. In fact when he plays it’s like we are playing with a man short. He tries and tries but he just doesn’t get there.
Anyone still think he’s not even good enough to be a squad player?
I’m obviously not the biggest fan but gotta give credit where it’s due. Well done Joe Allen. Great performance against Man City. So that’s 1 game this season. 38 plus games per season. Dury still out. But massive well done against City. I hope you prove me wrong. I’d love to change my opinion. We’ll see. Time will tell.