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The Liverpool midfielder has admitted he has a very close relationship with the Anfield manager after thriving under his guidance at Swansea and now for the Reds

New father Joe Allen has thanked his mentor and manager Brendan Rodgers for giving him the chance to become a key figure at Anfield.

Allen, 22, has impressed under the guidance of Rodgers, first at Swansea for two years and now at Anfield.

The Liverpool boss performed a dramatic U-turn in signing the Wales midfielder, after having promised the Swans he would not go back to his former club for players - an about-turn for which Allen is very grateful.

He told reporters: “I guess it is an honour that he made an exception and went back. He’s shown me nothing but faith and that’s been a massive help since coming here.

“Obviously knowing his style of play and how he works is also a massive help. When a man shows faith in you like that, the faith to put a young player into an historic club like this one, it takes a lot of nerve.

“And I have got to be grateful to him for that. In terms of Swansea, they were well rewarded, which I think is important for me. Everyone knows the love affair I have had with that club to come through since the age of nine. I’m glad they got rewarded for it."

Allen, whose first child Alfie was born midweek, admits he is heading for a few sleepless nights.

But he will make sure he repays his manager's faith in him on match-days, as he continues to blossom in the heart of Liverpool's midfield in tandem with Steven Gerrard.

He added: “It’s been a roller-coaster few weeks with the baby arriving early on Tuesday morning, a baby boy. Life can’t really get much better than that, I don’t think.

“I’m loving every second here. It’s very inspiring. When I look alongside me and Steven Gerrard is standing there, that’s something you never would have dreamed of.

“As a kid and a budding footballer you look up and admire footballers like that. Having been in the Olympics and played alongside Ryan Giggs as well, it’s been an incredible couple of months.

Another major test awaits Allen on Sunday when Liverpool entertain Arsenal and he is the first to admit he is a huge fan of the Gunners' football philosophy.

Allen said: “Everyone has admired Arsenal for years, the way they have played their football. It’s going to be an exciting match, especially for the neutrals. Let’s hope we can perform and get a result.”

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