Given the chance to shine in recent weeks due to injuries in midfield, Joe Allen has impressed. And it’s a good thing for Liverpool he has, given the club are going to be counting on him over the next month as they attempt to win a European semi-final over two legs against Villarreal.
Against Bournemouth on Sunday, he might have had his best game yet, dropped into the double-pivot alongside youngster Keven Stewart and mostly given license to push forward into the areas of the pitch he’s looked best in since Jürgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool. It’s likely to be his role to lose for the rest of season.
Stewart, on the other hand, at the very least won’t be available for selection in the Europa League, when it’s likely Lucas—who played at centre half yesterday—will push back up the pitch. There are at least eight games to go for the club, though, and right now Allen would be a solid bet to start in all of them.
On Sunday, in the eight role, Allen pushed up the pitch to create a pair of clear cut chances while still managing an 85% pass completion rate and adding a solid handful of interceptions, tackles, and defensive clearances for good measure. Short of a goal, it was as good a performance as a player in that role could put in.
That he’s had similarly strong performances in recent appearances against Stoke and Borussia Dortmund augurs well for the immediate future—both for himself and for Liverpool. It also seems worth us taking a step back to acknowledge and appreciate Allen’s recent resurgence in red.