Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has criticised Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer's analysis of midfielder Joe Allen in the team.

Shearer suggested Allen's renowned possession play was too safe and not effective enough for the profligate Reds but Rodgers, who has moulded his teams' identity on ball retention, said he misses the point.

"I saw someone recently 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 replied.

allen

Allen is famed for his possession play

"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."

Rodgers enjoys a close relationship with Allen, who he coached at former club Swansea City before signing him for £15m in the summer.

His protection of the 22-year-old is unsurprising in light of the latest Being: Liverpool episode, in which he referred to Allen as the "Welsh Xavi" when he arrived at the club's Melwood training ground to complete his transfer.

Allen scored just four goals for Swansea last season but recorded a 91.2% accuracy rate with his 2,177 passes.

Quick Poll

Is football too obsessed with stats?

VOTE

Stats appear to split football supporters. Purists stake little worth in them whereas others are adamant they offer a hidden perspective on matches.


Diarmaid Hill
A person with an agenda uses stats like a drunk uses a lamp-post, for support rather than illumination.


Michael Cox
Chaps: your possession calculation, is it percentage of passes attempted, or completed?