One player, whose future at Liverpool had been doubtful for some time, has really come to the forefront towards the end of the season, and that’s Joe Allen. The Welsh midfielder, who has struggled to cement a regular place in the starting XI at Anfield since his arrival from Swansea, has played a key role in recent fixtures for Jurgen Klopp. With a big summer coming up for Liverpool, does Joe Allen have a future at the club and if so, where does he fit in?
In recent matches for Liverpool, especially in the Europa League against Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal, Allen’s confidence on the ball has shown a significant improvement. Not only that but the midfielder has been covering space well in the centre of the pitch, picking up plenty of second balls and starting attacks. Allen is also starting to appear in the box late, making intelligent runs to get on the end of chances; however, finishing is one area of his game which needs work. If Allen had taken his early chance, timing his run in to the box at Villarreal, it would have put a hugely different complexion on the tie. Instead of finding the corner of the net, Allen guided the ball straight to the welcoming arms of the goalkeeper. It was a massive chance and clearly, if Allen is to continue to play in this role for Jurgen Klopp, he will need to start taking them.
There have been plenty of rumours linking Allen with a move back to Swansea but if he remains in the Liverpool midfield until the end of the season, playing in the same way, it will be a tough decision for Klopp to let him go.
If Allen is to become a key member of Liverpool’s midfield under Klopp, something he will need to work on, in addition to his finishing, is his strength. Allen does not come across as the type of player you would be worried about facing in the opposition midfield. For that to happen, he needs to become more physical and really stamp his authority on games. The nice passing is good and keeps the team ticking over but it doesn’t set the team on fire. Furthermore, if it becomes a real physical battle in the central area of the pitch, can you rely on Allen to be the man who will come out on top? At the moment probably not but maybe with a midfield enforcer alongside him, he could remain in the team.
The question is, has Joe Allen got the ability to warrant having a player selected alongside him, just to compensate for a weakness? He may look similar to Andrea Pirlo with the beard and hair but he is a long way off the Italian in terms of the way he can influence a match. Would Allen have played against Dortmund or Villarreal, if Jordan Henderson had been fit? Possibly not and it remains to be seen if he could hold down a place in the team, with everyone fit. Also, there are sure to be new signings coming in at Anfield during the summer, where will Allen fit in when this happens?
Coming towards the end of the 2015/16 season, Allen can be pleased with his contribution. He has shown signs of improvement under Klopp and has got on the ball well, providing good distribution and making forward runs. Will this be enough to see his name on the team-sheet next season? It’s still a case of wait and see.
We at Liverpool Rumour rate the combative midfielder, who works tirelessly for the team.
Watch Joe Allen in action below.