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Oct 10, 2012

Allen relishing Liverpool pressure

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen insists he can carry on handling the pressure of his £15 million price tag.

• Blog: Suarez storm shows game's issues

Allen, 22, has had a life-changing summer, moving to Anfield from Swansea shortly before becoming a father for the first time, while he also went on to represent Great Britain at the Olympics.

Since then he has become one of the most consistent performers in a Liverpool side who have struggled for form in the Premier League, currently sitting 14th and picking up just one win from their opening seven games.

The Wales international has not escaped criticism though, with Alan Shearer claiming he was too safe in possession and not willing to play enough killer passes.

But Allen, who will line up against Scotland in Cardiff for a World Cup qualifier on Friday, is relishing the extra pressure that comes with playing for Liverpool.

"To get the chance to move to a club like Liverpool was a great opportunity," he told the Liverpool Echo. "I've really enjoyed my time there so far and am looking forward to the future with the club.

"The price tag is going to add pressure, but that is something you come to expect as a football player."

Allen is also adamant that the club's league performances will improve soon. Their sole league victory so far was a 5-2 win at Norwich.

"The table doesn't reflect some of the performances and the things that have happened to Liverpool this season," he said. "With change at a football club, it does take a while for things to embed and settle in.

"Liverpool is full of world-class players and I'm privileged to play alongside them. I'm looking forward to a successful season.

"You can really see the style of play is coming into its own. The performance at Norwich typified that so I'm looking forward to the club climbing up the table."

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been delighted with Allen's form this season and moved to dismiss Shearer's criticism of his player.

"I saw someone recently criticising Joe Allen for not playing risky passes. Unbelievable - so-called pundits who don't know the dynamics of a team and how it functions," Rodgers said.

"Joe's role is to keep the ball and that, in Britain, is a special talent. It is why Paul Scholes is still playing at his age. It is such a rare talent for a midfielder to rarely give the ball away."

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