BOSTON — Joe Allen is less than two months away from scoring one of the goals of his life.
Allen is likely to feature regularly for Liverpool during the 2014-15 season, and the Welsh midfielder couldn’t be more excited about competing in the UEFA Champions League.
“That’s been a big dream of mine, so I’m really looking forward to experiencing that this year,” Allen said after Liverpool’s practice Tuesday at Harvard. “When I signed for Liverpool, the aim was to be part of team that’s playing in the Champions League. We all know it’s a competition in which Liverpool has a rich history.”
Allen joined Liverpool before the 2012-13 season in a £15 million ($25.6 million) transfer from Swansea City. The Reds’ eighth-place finish in the previous season’s Premier League landed them in the UEFA Europa League for Allen’s debut campaign at Anfield. The Reds then finished seventh in 2012-13, missing out on Europe altogether last season.
But Liverpool stormed back into the reckoning last season. The Reds finished second in the Premier League, earning direct qualification for the group stage of this season’s Champions League.
Swansea City has never reached such lofty heights, and Liverpool returns to the Champions League for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
Allen, 24, could be testing himself against Europe’s best as soon as mid-September. UEFA will conduct the draw for the 2014-15 Champions League on Aug. 28, and the group stage begins on Sept. 16 and 17.
Allen already is hard at work in preseason training with Liverpool. All he has to do is stay on course, and he’ll reach that goal. Allen of all people should be comfortable in the knowledge that his goal is just a short, side-footed pass away.
Photo via Twitter/@VAVEL