Professional Scout: Ineffective Joe Allen Is Holding Liverpool Back

It's not just the zero goals or assists to his name since his arrival from Swansea City, Joe Allen's presence in the team is stifling Liverpool's creativity.
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It's not just the zero goals or assists to his name since his arrival from Swansea City, Joe Allen's presence in the team is stifling Liverpool's creativity.

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Joe Allen arrived at Anfield after a £15m mega-move to be reunited with his former Swansea boss Brendan Rogers from South Wales, a move which even the most loyal of Liverpool fans were entitled to think that the money paid for the diminutive midfielder was far to expensive, even by their recent over the top purchases of failed British talent.

The effect after 21 games that the 22-year-old, expensive Welshman has had on the opposition is negligent at best, Allen technically is comfortable with both feet over short distances, he has good pictures early and executes around 60 passes a game, with an average of one key pass per game. Here lies a much deeper problem for Liverpool and Allen's potential playing partners.

Take Steven Gerrard for example, when playing alongside Allen they must share ball-time, however this happens in the wrong areas of the pitch to stamp authority early on, especially at Anfield, which allows the opposition to settle and grow in confidence.

Forward movement by the second or third midfielder is negated due to the necessity of keeping a defensive covering position for any misguided sideways or backward passes. In the past glory days of old Liverpool have been a team that have had an extra weapon in that the opposition team have felt a sense of trepidation prior to the kick off.

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The intimidating tempo of passing, moving and closing down has been replaced by pedestrian keep ball in areas that just doesn't hurt the opposition and encourages them to get tight and potentially win the ball back in a very dangerous area. The knock on effect going forward is that the opposing defenders are set and Liverpool are too deep. Something has to give and that something is the exclusion of Allen when Lucas and Gerrard are available for selection.

The last two home games with these two in the engine room have seen a return to the irresistible free flowing forward thinking team that scored seven home goals and conceded none. Sideways and back passes were replaced by quick triangular passing triggering attacking runs all over the pitch that get the quarterback looking Gerrard hitting rapier like deliveries from anywhere, leaving the visitors not being able to track, even if they had a map and compass.

The freedom and belief of teammates emerges through confidence that their endeavours will be rewarded in the final third. Liverpool enjoyed 52 shots on goal, of which 19 were on target in that period, with Lucas and Gerrard in tandem, Liverpool no longer invite pressure; they are the pressure. Allen has been involved in 21 premier league games scoring none and assists not a single one again.

Currently ranked 190th in premier league players for all-round stats, Joe Allen might well be encouraged to study and execute the strengths of others to benefit this world renowned club.

Sitting just nine points behind the fourth Champions League place, this is a vehicle going somewhere over the next few years, the acceleration of this return to glory must sit solely at the managers ruthlessness of being able to admit he has purchased a good premier league footballer, but not one that is going to suit or inspire teammates to glory at Anfield. If Liverpool's problem is Allen, I wonder if Rodgers' problem could be the continuing quality of Gerrard.