Hear us out, Joe Allen and everybody’s least favourite midfielder Tom Cleverley are eerily similar. Sorry Liverpool fans.
The man Brendan Rodgers once dubbed ‘The Welsh Xavi’ has been a lot more Cleverley than clever-passer. Okay so that was a bit of a pun, but unfortunately for Liverpool fans, Allen has failed to deliver since his move.
What was Joe Allen signed for? He was synonymous with the passing game Rodgers’ Swansea played in their rise to the Premier League. Never a prolific goal scorer, Allen only manged 7 throughout his entire Swansea career. So if it wasn’t to eventually replace Steven Gerrard, who has always been capable of goals, then it must have been to distribute the ball well and provide the assists without which goals just wouldn’t happen.
The problem with that is that Joe Allen has so far failed to deliver either goals or assists. At only 5″6 he isn’t exactly an intimidating figure in the middle of the pitch and as a result his defensive ability suffers, though to be fair Allen can tackle well.
It does sound harsh but so far at Liverpool Joe Allen just doesn’t do any one thing well enough to explain why £15 million was forked out on him. Since that move in 2012, Joe Allen registered zero assists in his first season, one assist in his second season and now a further assist so far this season. He has played 78 times for Liverpool. How do you justify that return for the cash spent on him?
That’s why, with great regret the comparison rears its head…Joe Allen is Liverpool’s Tom Cleverley.
Okay so of course nobody has decided to spend £15 million on Tom Cleverley (thank god). But from a statistical stand point the two have a lot in common. Both play in the centre of midfield for a start, making comparisons a lot more straightforward.
So far this season, neither has registered a goal or assist for their team. In terms of distributions it is Allen who is the more accurate passer, but only just. He clocks in at 89% pass completion whilst Cleverley comes it at 87%. However for Allen, things get dramatically worse on every other passing aspect.
Cleverley, having only played two more games than Allen trounces him on total passes, successful passes and forward passes.
So Allen is lacking in offensive output, perhaps he has stepped up his defensive game? Unfortunately not Liverpool fans, Cleverley again exhibits more output in defence and is clearly making his presence felt around the pitch more.
When Brendan Rodgers’ transfers are called in to question, and they have been in recent weeks, Joe Allen’s name is rarely mentioned as a prime culprit. Whether that’s because there are easier targets (we’re looking at you Mario) or that people just forget about him, Joe Allen’s name should be up there.
A cursory glance back at some of the men who have graced Anfield puts Allen’s performances under a harsher light. This is a club who has seen the likes of Dietmar Hamann and Xabi Alonso bring trophies to the club less than ten years ago. How much longer can the jury stay out on Allen’s performances?
You may have read that title and thought it unfair to compare Allen to Cleverley and you’re right. The statistics prove that this season, Clevereley has significantly outperformed his Liverpool counterpart.
Sean Curtin, Pundit Arena.
Featured image by md.faisalzaman via Wikimedia Commons