Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that the club miss former midfielder Joe Allen, but insisted to the Liverpool Echo that it was not the wrong decision to sell him in the summer.
Klopp and the Reds allowed Allen to leave to join Stoke City for £13 million during the summer transfer window as they did not see him as a regular starter in the side.
Since his move to the Britannia Stadium, however, the Wales international has flourished in a more attacking role in midfield, scoring five goals – already the best single-season tally of his entire career – and adding two assists in 16 Premier League games.
Allen is now preparing for his first return to Anfield since leaving when the Potters travel to Merseyside on Tuesday.
Though there is some question as to whether Allen would be good enough to play a similarly prominent role in a Liverpool side aiming for the title, Klopp was candid in admitting that the club do miss the 26-year-old.
However, the Reds boss insisted that it was not the wrong decision to sell the midfielder, although he did warn that his side will have to carefully watch their former star throughout the match.
Klopp said, via the Echo: “Do we miss Joe Allen? Yes. He’s a nice guy, unbelievably strong player. But it was a kind of joint decision. We had a clear conversation and it was about what I could kind of guarantee.
“It wasn’t that he asked me how many games he would start but for the past one or two years he hadn’t been a fixed line-up player. Sometimes injuries were the reason. We all knew about his quality. When you see him playing now it’s a bit like (gulp).
“We’re really happy for him that he scores so many goals and has a big impact on games at Stoke. That’s how it is in life, you can’t have everything. It’s about having one option more or not.
“He plays a little bit more offensive now than he would have played for us, but this should always be like this. If you leave us okay, show us what you have learned – that you’re an outstanding player and Joe Allen for sure is an outstanding player. We need to have a look at him.”
Though he would likely deny it publicly, Allen may feel he has a point to prove to Klopp and Liverpool next week, but he is sure to receive a warm welcome from his former supporters.