Was there a player more closely associated with Brendan Rodgers than Joe Allen? The Welsh midfielder spent two seasons under Rodgers at Swansea City before joining him at Liverpool in 2012's summer transfer window. The 42-year-old manager didn't play down Allen's talents at all three years ago, lavishing the diminutive midfielder with exorbitantly high praise.
I think the Liverpool supporters enjoy watching this kid play football. He is 5ft 6ins but in terms of being a footballer he is 7ft 6ins. He’s absolutely immense. His courage in getting on the ball, how he reads the game and his football intelligence is outstanding. We paid £15m for him and I said that very quickly that price would double and people probably laughed at me. But he will play here for many years and the supporters will love this kid.
It's easy to forget the astounding start Joe Allen made to his Liverpool career, displaying all the touch, poise, and intelligence of some legendary midfield sort from Spain or somewhere. Injuries and form have been a problem for Allen, but there have been bright patches that haven't been sustained for long enough for Allen to hold down a regular place in the side. With the current 4-3-2-1 formation that Jürgen Klopp seems to be sticking with early on in his tenure at the club, proving to be a reliable rotational piece could be all that's on offer—a status that Allen held under Rodgers for the past year or so.
With Lucas Leiva as the club's only senior midfielder who understands the tactical demands required to operate as the deepest midfielder, the two outside central midfield spots look to be the only way in. James Milner and Emre Can are the current preferred starters, but the return of Jordan Henderson could spell time on the bench for stand-in captain Milner. Jordan Rossiter's promise and eventual return from injury could provide an alternative to Lucas until January, but even before then, regular seems as though it could be elusive for the 25-year-old Allen.
The midfielder's performance against Rubin Kazan wasn't the best, and although a yellow card was cited as the chief reason for substituting the player, many—even if not all—Liverpool fans felt his performance alone had been poor enough to justify withdrawing him from the action. Playing in an unfamiliar position doesn't help, but Allen could be set to benefit as a player whose qualities seem compatible with Klopp's philosophy. He's intelligent, diligent, mobile, passes well, and could help Liverpool be more effective in possession—an area of particular concern in Klopp's first three games.
The links are tenuous at this stage, with The Metro—citing the Daily Star—identifying Southampton, Stoke City, and Leicester City as possible destinations for the man who helped Wales qualify for a first major tournament since 1958. Apparently Klopp has given "the green light" to let Allen go in the next transfer window, but is this too soon or the right move after three-and-a-half seasons at Liverpool?