Allen auditions for Europa final

LONDON • Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen is desperate for another chance to impress against Chelsea today as the fight to feature in the Europa League final hots up.

The Wales international has spent much of the season on the fringes of Juergen Klopp's starting line-up, but he has impressed whenever selected and underlined his credentials with a goal in Sunday's 2-0 win over Watford.

There are two Premier League matches left against Chelsea and West Bromwich before Liverpool face holders Sevilla in Basel on May 18, and manager Klopp insists he does not yet know his line-up for the second-tier European final.

That offers hope to Allen and the rest of the Reds' understudies, who may get another chance to state their cases when deposed champions Chelsea arrive at Anfield today.

Allen said: "Any time you step out for this team, you are playing to prove you should be involved in the next game. Of course there is an added incentive when there's a final coming up."

Liverpool started badly enough this season to warrant the sacking of Brendan Rodgers as manager, yet they could still match last year's achievement in finishing sixth

To do so, they may have to win their final two games or hope others drop points. That may not be easy, given that they are near the end of a marathon season, which has already added up to 60 games.

Klopp had to juggle his resources and select below-strength sides, with Allen one of the unsung stars of their recent run - with just one loss in the last seven league games.

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LIVERPOOL V CHELSEA

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Allen auditions for Europa final'. Print Edition | Subscribe