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Watch: Joe Allen vs. Manchester City

In a match full of excellent performances, Joe Allen was among the best, once again excelling at all the little things that made Liverpool tick and rightly earning plaudits after an excellent display in the 2-1 win.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Slightly more interesting than the fact that he received a rooster as a birthday present is the fact that there's an actual debate about Joe Allen and his worth as a professional footballer. The debate in and of itself isn't really that remarkable or compelling, as both parties tend to agree that he does exactly what he does but fail to find common ground about whether or not his Joe Allen-ness is useful for Liverpool. Or whether or not he's a player of Liverpool's standard, as though that's something that means anything.

On Sunday afternoon at Anfield he was certainly of Liverpool's standard and proved more than useful, standing out among the 22-odd players who featured as one of the most effective in their task on the day. That task included passing, pressing, anticipating, fouling, intercepting, and generally throwing himself about against the likes of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, which is a significant ask of a player that featured for over 120 minutes three days ago and, at least in terms of physicality, doesn't match up favorably.

By that standard, he was tremendous, dominating in a midfield role that demanded energy and versatility, and his ability to excel in that role provided the platform for Liverpool's match-winners at the front end to push forward. Today his performance was special because more people were talking about it, and because it came in a match that saw Liverpool reassert themselves as contenders for a top four finish against the reigning champions.

But in the end, it was just Joe Allen doing the types of things Joe Allen does, and there can be no debate about that.

Video by MrBoywunder

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