Rodgers defends big money signing

Joe Allen, LiverpoolBrendan Rodgers has hit back at criticism of £15 million signing Joe Allen this week after the Welsh Player of the Year was scrutinised by “so-called pundit” Alan Shearer on Match of the Day.

Rodgers brought the 22-year-old with him from Swansea this summer, and has become part of the new regime at Anfield. His career for the Reds has started well, being voted player of the month for August by Liverpool fans. However, Alan Shearer criticised the midfielder for not doing enough on the ball in attack.

The Liverpool boss believes Shearer’s analysis is wrong, and that keeping the ball is integral to the Welshman’s role in the team.

“I saw something the other day criticising Joe Allen for not playing risk 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 to his age.”

Rodgers believes the return of injured holding midfielder Lucas Leiva next month will give Allen more licence going forward.

“When Lucas is back, you’ll see more aspects of Joe’s game. Lucas could hold, with Joe playing in an advanced role. Lucas is more defensive, and that will help Joe,” he added.