Jurgen Klopp has joined many Liverpool fans in praising Welsh midfielder Joe Allen, who’s enjoying his best spell at the club since joining from Swansea back in 2012.
Brendan Rodgers signed the central midfielder from his former club, but for many reasons, some unfair, Allen became a symbol of Liverpool’s ‘possession for the sake of possession’ football under the former manager.
Allen was criticised for his sideways passing and lack of physicality and bite, but under Rodgers’ replacement Jurgen Klopp, Allen’s showing development and improvement.
“For me, Joe Allen was always a first-team player,” the manager told the official website. “He was not in the line-up a few times, that’s true.
“But if I can go a few months back, when I came here he was with the national team, before that he was injured, he was not 100 per cent fit, but there was no doubt about quality.
“[He was] not 100 per cent in shape, not physically and not on the football side, but now he is and that’s the best news.
“It’s the next ‘transfer’ for us, it’s really good to see. I like his style, he’s very important for us, he shows what he is able to do and everybody knew it better than I did.
“I see it and it’s really good to have him here. I wouldn’t say he showed the possibility when you come in, he was always in, but he was not fit enough in the moment.
“Maybe the player sees this sometimes different, that’s the nature of human beings, that’s no problem, but now I think we both agree he is in really good shape.”
Despite Allen’s recent form, which included goals against Arsenal and Exeter, a shootout winning penalty against Stoke and an assist against the same club – he’s barely featured in the Premier League.
Under Klopp he’s only made one start, against Newcastle in a miserable St. James’ Park defeat – and has had to content himself with appearances in our multiple cup competitions instead.
With Liverpool still in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League though, Allen’s run of games isn’t over yet.
The only question will be whether he can impress enough in the cups to force himself into the Premier League side. Many fans would currently argue he’s currently more deserving of a central spot than Emre Can or Lucas.