You'd be doing well to find a Liverpool supporter out there who doesn't have a strong opinion on midfielder Joe Allen. He is definitely one of the most divisive players currently on Liverpool's playing roster. Some think he's a complete waste of space and that he doesn't supply much more than his "back and sides" nickname suggests (a nickname of poor taste I might add). However, many fans can see beyond the cold hard statistics that many people take as gospel. The fact that the young Welshman supplies neither tonnes of goals nor bucket loads of assists means little to the cultured eye of an open minded football fan. Although I acknowledge that everyone has an opinion I will attempt to explain the reasoning behind my faith in Joe Allen, the "poster boy" of Brendan Rodgers.
The diminutive midfielder gives Liverpool exactly what they have been lacking so far this season: precision passing and an air of composure. Liverpool have enjoyed brief stints of control in games - most notably the first half at Villa Park - with Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Coutinho, Agger and Johnson able to keep the ball well under pressure, but this has failed to materialise far too often, particularly when the Reds have taken the lead and surrendered territory to their opponents. Realistically, once the Reds went 3-0 to the good against Crystal Palace they should have passed the Londoners to death and scored at least one more goal in the second half, but they became lazy and took their feet completely off the gas - giving Palace plenty of the ball and therefore plenty of opportunities to hit Liverpool's defence, against a better team this would have been fatal despite the brilliant first half showing. If you have the ball the other team cannot attack and Allen would bring this ethos back into the team - at the moment, everything is happening at one hundred miles an hour, possibly because Steven Gerrard is the current midfield dictator and that's the speed at which he loves to operate, Allen would help bring back last season's footballing ethos. In addition, Allen's cool head would help prevent these situations when teams come back at Liverpool in the second half of games - simply because Allen would be comfortable (and knowledgeable enough) to keep the ball without the need to drop to the edge of the eighteen yard box. Keeping the ball and ticking down the clock might be boring to the neutral and hot headed fan, but it's sensible and teams that choke the life out of football matches, whilst they're in a winning position, are the successful ones. Rodgers knows this.
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I'm Zak and I graduated from the University of Hull in 2014 - where I studied 20th Century History. I love anything about football, especially weird and wonderful stats. I'm in to trying just about any game and enjoy debating about films. My main passion for writing comes from the beautiful game! I encourage debate so please leave any comments you think of! I hope you enjoy the articles.