Birthdate: 14 March 1990
Birthplace: Carmarthen, Wales
Other clubs: Swansea City (2007-12), Wrexham (loan, 2008), Stoke City (2016-)
Bought from: Swansea City
Signed for LFC: £15m, 10.08.2012
International debut: 29.05.2009 vs. Estonia
International caps: 35/2 (23 at LFC) - 24.03.2017
Liverpool debut: 18.08.2012
Last appearance: 18.05.2016
Debut goal: 27.01.2013
Last goal: 08.05.2016
Contract expiry: 25.07.2016
Win ratio: 50% W:66 D:31 L:35
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 4 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 91 / 4
Total LFC games/goals: 132 / 7
Player profileAlthough new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had a written agreement with his previous employers, Swansea City, that he would not try to sign any Swansea players for a full twelve months, there was a certain inevitability about Joe Allen leaving south Wales once it became clear that there was a clause in that agreement allowing him to leave for £15 million for a big English club. Michael Laudrup, who replaced Rodgers as manager at the Liberty Stadium, accepted that it was pointless trying to keep a player who wanted to leave, adding: "He has a great possibility to go to a big club with a manager who knows him and who will play him." Allen admitted that Craig Bellamy, with whom he had been in Great Britain's Olympic squad, had been urging him to join Liverpool, although it was somewhat ironic that around the same time Allen was officially signing his first Liverpool contract Bellamy was also signing a contract to leave Merseyside for south Wales and his hometown club, Cardiff City.
The midfielder had been part of Swansea’s set-up since he was only nine-years-old, progressing through the junior ranks until the day came when manager Roberto Martínez gave him his Football League debut when he was only 17 on the final day of the 2006/07 season. Progress was slow for him in the next couple of years and he had a spell on loan at Wrexham but his spell had to be curtailed when he received an ankle injury. Once he had recovered, he became an integral part of the Swansea team that first consolidated its position in the Championship and then made a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier League. Allen featured in the play-off final against Reading at Wembley in which his club fulfilled their dream by defeating the Berkshire club by four goals to two.
Shortly before the club from south Wales began their inaugural season in the top division, Allen signed a contract that, without Liverpool’s intervention, would have kept him at Swansea until 2015. But Allen’s form, like that of his club, surpassed most people’s expectations and it wasn’t just Liverpool that was taking an interest. Allen played in all but two of Swansea’s 38 Premier League matches in 2011/12. His good form was also being recognised on the international stage. Having represented Wales at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level, it was no surprise when he eventually made his debut for the senior side and at the time of his transfer to Liverpool he had eight full caps. He was also one of five Welshmen selected by manager Stuart Pearce to be in Great Britain’s squad for the London Olympics and played from the start in all four of the tournament matches.
Allen was excited about playing for Liverpool and the man who signed him was confident that he could be a success. Brendan Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo: "This boy, when you see him play, you would think he was a European player. He is a unique player in that he is a British player who doesn't give the ball away. He's incredible on the ball. His body work and intelligence for a 22-year-old is frightening. You will see when he comes into this team the difference he can make. His game understanding is very good, and he is in love with the football."
Allen started his Liverpool career superbly, delivering man-of-the-match performances in an unfamiliar role as defensive midfielder in the absence of Lucas Leiva. It was expected he would relish playing further upfield as Lucas returned, but he seemed to lose confidence, still coming terms with his move from Swansea to Liverpool. Allen is still young and is quite certain to find his form again and be a valuable member of the Liverpool squad.
Allen's first season as a Liverpool player can be considered neither as a complete failure nor as a complete success. Moving from south Wales to Merseyside was a big step up for him, even if he was working under a management-team with whom he was already familiar from his Swansea days. He could be satisfied with appearing in just under 70 per cent of the first-team's competitive matches in 2012/13. He missed the last eight matches of the season because of a shoulder inujry that required corrective surgery. Not renowned as a goalscorer at his previous club, Allen scored just twice during the season, both goals coming in cup-ties, against Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup and against Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Europa League.
Allen made three less appearances in the Premier League (24) than he had done in his first season (27) but that was enough to take him past fifty in that competition for Liverpool. Having scored twice in cup competitions in 2012/13 the midfielder found the net for the first time in a league match when he scored in the club's penultimate match of the season at Crystal Palace. Allen was in and out of the team starting seventeen matches and being on the substitutes' bench for another fifteen. On the whole he continues to be a neat and tidy player whose passing is usually accurate; and he has never allowed his lack of height or build to be seen as any sort of weak link by an opponent. Not a firm crowd favourite perhaps but a reliable and consistent performer. Allen was given the honour of captaining Wales when they played in a friendly international in Amsterdam shortly before the 2014 World Cup finals started.
Allen made thirty-two first-team appearances for Liverpool during the 2014/15 season and that took his total for the club up to just short of a century. His only goal of the season came in the home win over Newcastle United in April. The following season he did not feature as much as he would have liked, making just eight starts in the league, usually when the squad was rotated by Jurgen Klopp with Europa League games in mind. His overall goals tally of three though was his best so far. Allen had an impressive Euro 2016 campaign with Wales but his opportunities still looked limited at Anfield and on 25th July he agreed to sign a five year deal with Stoke City after the clubs agreed a £13 million fee.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|4||West Ham United|
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg|
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|1||Zenit St. Petersburg|
|100||17.10.2015||Tottenham||White Hart Lane||League|
|1||79||27.01.2013||Oldham Athletic||Boundary Park||FA Cup|
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Swansea City||2006-2007||England League One||1||0||1||0|
|Swansea City||2007-2008||England League One||6||0||14||0|
|Swansea City||2008-2009||England Championship||23||1||26||1|
|Wrexham||2008-2009||Blue Square Premier||2||1||2||1|
|Swansea City||2009-2010||England Championship||21||0||22||0|
|Swansea City||2010-2011||England Championship||40||2||48||2|
|Swansea City||2011-2012||England Premier League||36||4||39||4|
|Stoke City||2016-2017||England Premier League||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|