independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Allen sees the strength in Anfield

Joe Allen believes Anfield is becoming a fortress

Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen believes Anfield has once again become a fortress where opposition teams will arrive fearing an in-form Luis Suarez.

The Reds have scored 13 goals in their last three matches at home - where they have lost once since February.

Suarez has grabbed nine of those goals, including a brilliant four against Norwich in midweek, and is the top flight's leading marksman with 13 in just nine games - which has extended his goalscoring run to 25 in his last 24 Premier League appearances.

Only Manchester City, with 29, have scored more home league goals than Liverpool (18) this season and with Saturday's visitors West Ham not having won at Anfield in the league since September 1963, keeping just two clean sheets in the last 13 league visits, the statistics point to that sequence being extended.

"To gain that momentum it strikes fear into the teams coming here," said the Wales international.

"Everyone is going to be talking about Luis and when you see the goals he scored (against Norwich) they know they will not have an easy game coming here - it has that sort of effect.

"We really want to get that feeling of being unbeatable at home. Slowly it is coming back.

"You have setbacks, that is inevitable but I think we are getting much more consistent.

"The away game at Hull (a 3-1 defeat last Sunday) was a bit of a shock because it was a disappointing performance but we have put it behind us, learned from it and set the record straight straight away."

Suarez has assumed the goalscoring responsibility with fellow striker Daniel Sturridge, who has scored nine goals, out until next month with a sprained ankle.

Liverpool's next highest goalscorer in the league is captain Steven Gerrard with three but Allen believes the goals can be found throughout the side - should Suarez decide to share the load.

"There is nothing that affects Luis, he has been through a lot, just shakes it off and gets on with it," he added.

"It is disappointing to lose someone of Sturridge's quality of course but we have quality throughout the squad."

Youngster Raheem Sterling marked his 50th appearance for the club with a goal against Norwich on Wednesday and after his first back-to-back league starts since January 2.

Earlier in the season there had been talk about the England international, who turns 19 on Sunday, going out on loan to gain more playing time but that will now not be the case.

"I thought his finish on Wednesday night was excellent. It probably got lost in and among Luis' goals and his assist," said Rodgers.

"He knows he's got to add the numbers to his game in terms of the goals and assists.

"We've encouraged the front players to take more of a risk and get into the box.

"We mustn't forget that he's a boy of 18 years of age, who is developing all the time.

"The spell out of the team doesn't do him any harm. He's learning from very good players here and he knows that when he goes into the side he has the confidence of the manager and his team-mates to go and perform.

"Raheem has been in the squad and featured in a lot of the games even if he hasn't started so certainly at this moment in time we wouldn't be considering a loan."

Someone who may be loaned out, however, is Sterling's fellow teenager Jordon Ibe, who coincidentally celebrates his 18th birthday on Sunday.

He made his first-team debut last season but has featured in just one Capital One Cup tie this time around.

"What a talent he is. He's 17 years of age and he trains with us in the first-team squad," added the Reds boss.

"He will need a loan period because he needs to get games, he needs to go and get the environment and get playing.

"But he's another one who we really see for the future."

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