MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Joe Allen of Team GB poses during a portrait session on July 21, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Joe Allen is a Liverpool player. This is something you know by now unless you've been living under a rock. On the off chance you might like to know a little bit more than that, we've scoured the interwebs in search of some of the best and most informative recent articles on Allen so that you can impress your friends, co-workers, and life-partners (potential or otherwise) with the width, depth, height, length, and breadth of your knowledge in the matter of Liverpool's newest signing...
Soccernet: Allen a Key Piece in Progressive Puzzle
Amongst the expected statistical breakdowns and bouts of number crunching, one of the best pieces written in the wake of Joe Allen signing for Liverpool has been Richard Jolly's long-form look at what makes this reunion different from when Roy Hodgson linked back up with Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky following that manager's ill-fated Anfield move. Fears sparked by the club spending north of £25M only to bring in a pair of players recently performing in the Championship because Brendan Rodgers previously managed them may be unavoidable, but in this case rather than it simply being an issue of familiarity it appears clearly an issue of needing players who can meet the demands of the system Rodgers wants to install.
That is of course no guarantee Allen and Fabio Borini will be the players to carry Liverpool back into the promised land that is the top four, but given both are young and have the engines required to execute Rodgers uptempo, high-pressure game without the ball, there's really nothing in their makeup that suggests a repeating of past mistakes in their captures. There is also—thankfully—little in Allen's game to suggest his fate will be similar to that of Charlie Adam, the last midfielder from the United Kingdom bought by Liverpool who a year earlier had been playing in the Championship, with Allen's 91% pass completion rate speaking to a far different sort of footballer than Adam's 73%.
Oh You Beauty: On Joe Allen
Over at Oh You Beauty, Joe Allen's arrival was greeted by chalkboards and passing wheels, and anyone hankering for a few charts and graphs as part of their introduction to the player will find themselves well served. Looking in particular at games against Arsenal and Blackburn where he was, respectively, deployed as primarily an attacking and holding midfielder, and at the interceptions he made across the season, gives a window into what Liverpool fans can expect from the young Welshman.
Along with the inforgraphics, there is also a look at how Allen will likely change the composition of Liverpool's midfield moving forwards—and a great deal of reason for encouragement to be found in one aspect of that composition, as the five midfielders at the club likely to see most of the minutes this season now have an average age of only 24.2. And that's including 32-year-old captain Steven Gerrard.
EPL Index: Joe Allen Statistically Compared to Rivals
Moving from looking at Allen and how he fit under Rodgers at Swansea to looking at how he compared to other Premier League midfielders, EPL Index look to break down how Allen's numbers stack up. Comparing his defensive and creation numbers confirms him as a player who is solid at both, though for the most part his numbers fall slightly behind the best specialists. He doesn't quite measure up to players like Chelsea's Ramires or Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye on the defensive side, and his defensive numbers do pale in comparison to Liverpool's own Lucas, but it's impossible to argue that at the very least Allen's aren't respectable.
With the ball his creation numbers again lag slightly behind the best in those categories, and though he is a standout when it comes to both number of passes and the accuracy of those passes, the stats say he isn't a midfielder who will provide all that much support to attackers in and around the box. In all, the numbers back up the general consensus when it comes to Allen, suggesting a player who can't match Lucas' defensive efforts but is at least a massive improvement over Jay Spearing as deputy, who is unmatched at building play and recycling possession, and who is unlikely to personally provide a great deal of goal threat despite the many other positives he can bring to a midfield.