Joe Allen admits he faces a tough task in earning a starting place in the Liverpool midfield, especially with the recent performances of ‘absolute star’ captain Steven Gerrard.
The Reds skipper has produced a host of impressive performances since switching to a slightly deeper position at the start of 2014.
His performances have included seven goals and nine assists this season, prompting Allen to deliver his tribute to the Reds talismanic skipper.
“We’re talking about someone who’s been, in terms of the Premier League, an absolute star,” the 23-year-old said.
“He’s coming towards the end of his 16th season with Liverpool. His form has been incredible this season and he’s still a really key player.
“Against Fulham, everyone spoke about the pass he played, but that was something you’d expect from Steven Gerrard. It was an incredible pass. That’s the ability he’s got.
“In terms of the position he’s found himself in, he’s able to take that on with ease.”
Allen is also fully focused on earning a starting place in Brendan Rodgers side, after returning from an injury picked up after a string of impressive performances in December.
However, the Wales international is under no illusions as to how difficult that may prove.
“I’m moving forward,” he added. “Before Christmas, I enjoyed a good run in the team and I was happy with my own performances and the levels I was getting up to.
“Unfortunately, I had a little setback, but I’m now looking forward between now and the end of the season to staying fit and hopefully playing a big part in what could turn out to be a great season.
“It does get harder and harder to get into the team, but that can only be a good thing. That’s something that’s been great this season – the competition for places.
“Stevie’s been playing fantastically in recent weeks, but also we were able to cope when he wasn’t in the team. When Luis Suarez was missing at the start of the season, we coped with that. That’s the difference this season.
“Every player in the squad has really played a part and that’s a great thing to have.”