Brendan Rodgers appointment in 2012 saw him do the thing most managers do: Go to their former clubs looking for players they see a vital component of their plans. Pep Guardiola has Thiago Alcantara, Roberto Mancini has Yaya Toure, and Rodgers had Joe Allen. The Welshman was poached from Swansea and Rodgers slotted him straight into his playing eleven. The fans were not amused and they made it known.
Stoke City a redemption for underappreciated Joe Allen?
For every misplaced pass, Allen was trolled. Every missed chance for scoring a goal treated with scorn.The Welshman would have been better served if he had moved on but stayed on due to Rodgers.The dismissal of Northern Irishman last season in October made it obvious that he would depart from Merseyside. The question was when. The manner in which he left though would’ve been impossible to envisage three years ago.
Last season under Jurgen Klopp,Joe Allen’s value saw an unprecedented resurrection. The Kop who were the major proprietors of his chastisements were clamouring for his renewal. The question turned from “Why are they keeping him” to “Why are not keeping him”. Allen popped up in the penalty box at just the right time to score the decisive goal. He was there to make that tackle and win the ball back. Had the final at St Jakob Park against Sevilla been different and Liverpool playing in the Champions League, Allen would’ve well been signing a contract extension.
But having missed out on European fixtures, a reduced game time meant that Allen was not guaranteed regular starting spots in Klopp’s lineup. Not that Klopp didn’t appreciate his abilities. The German was always appreciative of the value that Allen brought to the table. The Liverpool players and his teammates were effusive in their praise for him.Coutinho revealed that it was Allen who taught him how to keep the ball while Emre Can, Alberto Moreno had their own recollection of Allen’s pieces of wisdom.
If any doubt existed outside of Melwood training camp, the Euros were another example of Allen’s versatility. Though the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey hogged the maximum headlines, Allen was marked out for special mention along with the likes of Ashley Williams as Wales’ unsung heroes.
Consequently, the number of enquiries regarding his availability increased.Sevilla publicly admitted their interest and while Swansea went ahead and submitted their bid for the midfielder which was swiftly rejected as it was far lesser than what Reds valued him at. It was Stoke City who turned out to steal a march on their competitors for securing Allen’s signature at a price that was a win-win for both the parties.
Stoke City represent a fresh start for Joe Allen. A start that he rightly deserves. A starting spot and more game time with a team that doesn’t have the danger of relegation hanging over them. Freedom to play his natural game without having to watch his back for other teams that may leave his team behind. He also has the likes of Bojan Krkic and Xherdan Shaqiri fro company, not a drastic drop in quality as compared to Liverpool.
Going back to his former club would had been a good option but not a great one. Signing for Stoke City is. Having spent much of the last three years fighting for his starting spot, he finally deserves his moment on the pitch. No departures are good but the manner in which his exit from Liverpool turned out, it would’ve been sweetest for him alone.