Despite a strong finish to last season and impressive performances when he's either fit or on a consistent run of appearances, Joe Allen is yet to win over a decent portion of Liverpool fans. He cost a lot of money, you know, and he doesn't score any goals and tends to only pass the ball sideways or backward. Those aren't things people who cost a lot of money are supposed to do, and pass completion statistics will only get you so far. Unless you're doing a Squawka column comparison of midfielders' pass completion statistics, then they'll probably get you pretty far.
So Allen has some convincing left to do, which is fine by him thank you very much, as he's confident that both he and Liverpool are capable to succeeding regardless of whether or not their FIFA ratings are among the league's best:
"I understand people will see us as an underdog again. Things change quickly during the transfer window. But from our point of view, we have the confidence and we're raring to go for the new campaign. We understand it's going to be probably even tougher than last year. The teams around us have all strengthened so it looks like it's going to be an exciting year. We have to make sure there is no complacency on our part.
"We just have to make sure we hit the ground running. That's going to be a key to our season, making sure we are keeping pace with our main rivals from the very first match. We can't afford to fall too far behind."
His words about expectations are well-timed given that most outlets are running with predictions for the upcoming season; it's familiar territory for Allen and company, who find themselves as outsiders in the eyes of many not only for a title challenge, but for a top-four finish. That may very well end up being the case, just as it could have been last season, when many of us expected them to end up among the Europa League contenders.
There's no Luis Suarez this season, of course, and Liverpool are going to need match-winners to emerge on a consistent basis if they're going to challenge in any of the four competitions in which they'll take part. What they have in spades, however, are players like Allen--ones brought in with a specific purpose in mind, and who can have an important, and maybe even match-winning, role to play when their number is called.
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