Called in to action after club captain Jordan Henderson picked up a knock in the closing stages of Liverpool’s draw with Borussia Dortmund just under a week ago, Reds midfielder Joe Allen barely put a foot wrong at the Westfalenstadion and he followed up that masterful performance with another commanding display in the 4-1 win over Stoke City on Sunday to earn himself a standing ovation from the Kop when he departed with just over ten minutes left to play.
“It’s special to get that sort of reception from the crowd, so I’m grateful for that,” he told the club’s official website after the match. “It’s difficult when you’ve got a game in between an exciting tie like the one we’ve got, but we wanted to focus on today and make sure we didn’t have one eye on that game,” explained the Welshman. “But we can celebrate today’s game and turn our attentions now to what will be a massive game on Thursday.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp made seven changes to the side that drew in Germany last Thursday and he admitted after the match that he was surprised by the result. Both Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge were on the score sheet before the break and Divock Origi, who was introduced during the interval, bagged a second half brace with Bojan Krikic providing the sole blight on the afternoon. While Klopp may have been taken aback by a side that was cobbled together with the second leg against Dortmund very much at the forefront of his mind, Allen wasn’t at all.
“You can’t ask for much more than that: a great win, a great performance from start to finish,” enthused the diminutive midfielder. “[We had] a bit of a scare with the equaliser but came through that and got four good goals. “We talked about [the changes] a lot but it’s something we’ve always had faith in, our strength in depth,” continued the Welshman. “It’s great when you can make those sorts of changes and still put on a performance like that.”