Although the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez are being handed the lion’s share of the plaudits following Liverpool’s 3-0 win over arch-rivals Manchester United on Sunday, for the third match running, Joe Allen, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Friday, put in a performance worth talking about – one that he won’t forget anytime soon.
“It’s what it’s all about. The hunger and desire we showed throughout the game was great” enthused Allen in the wake of the victory. “To come and pick up three points from a game at Old Trafford is a feeling I’m sure many of us will never forget.” Employing a midfield diamond, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers watched on as the 24-year old combined with fellow stand-out performer Jordan Henderson to control the center of the park. With the Liverpool skipper pulling the strings behind them, the tempo of the match was very much in the hands of the visitors.
“I’ll count this as a birthday present” said the Welshman. “From a personal point of view, it was great to be involved from the start in a game like this.” Luis Suarez wrapped up the points with his 25th goal of the campaign late in the match, but it was a pair of Steven Gerrard penalties on either side of the half that did the damage – the crucial second one won by the Welshman.
Latching on to Henderson’s chipped ball into the box, Allen was clattered by United defender Phil Jones, leaving referee Mark Clattenburg no choice but to point to the spot again. “When there’s only a goal in it, you’re always looking to get that cushion,” he continued. “We started the second half well and got the second goal from the penalty spot and I think that really set the tone for the rest of the game.”