Ian Callaghan says Joe Allen will come good at Liverpool
LIVERPOOL legend Ian Callaghan has a soft spot for Swansea City.
A Reds supporter as a child, Callaghan made a record 640 appearances for the club during an 18-year stay at Anfield.
After a brief spell with American side Fort Lauderdale Strikers, he was recruited by John Toshack and played his part in Swansea's rise through the divisions.
Tommy Smith and Ray Kennedy are others to have played for both clubs, as well as Toshack himself.
And there are several members of the current Reds set-up with close links to Swansea.
Manger Brendan Rodgers took several of his Liberty backroom staff with him to Anfield and also signed Joe Allen.
The Narberth product was bought for £15 million and made 42 appearances last season.
But he has found life tough at the start of this term.
Allen has often been selected on the bench, and that could be where he finds himself this evening after recovering from the hamstring injury that kept him out of Wales action.
"Joe came in and was terrific, then he seemed to lose his way a little bit," said Callaghan.
"Liverpool paid a bit of money for him and he's still a vital part of the squad. But players have no say over how much they cost.
"Jordan Henderson came in for more money and he's taken time to settle.
"When you come to Liverpool, with all its tradition, it takes time to find your feet.
"Joe is a very good player, so I'm sure he'll be fine."
Opinion on the Kop also seemed divided about Rodgers.
Liverpool finished seventh last season, behind local rivals Everton, and failed to make an impression in cup competitions.
But they have started the new campaign well, topping the table after three straight wins, one of which came against bitter foes Manchester United.
"I've met Brendan a few times and he comes across really well. He understands the traditions of Liverpool," said Callaghan. "I think he's going to do a great job.
"The fans were behind him last season. Now he's had a year under his belt I think he will be even better.
"It's the best start for a number of years. They seem to have a good squad together, are playing very well and (Daniel) Sturridge is on fire.
"Brendan's made good signings, and even the players who were already here, like Henderson, look better."
Callaghan was part of the Swansea side who won promotion to the Second Division in 1979 before injury led to his release 18 months later.
At Liverpool he collected five First Division championship medals, won the FA Cup twice, the Uefa Cup twice and lifted the European Cup in 1977.
These days he is still part of the Liverpool operation, working as a matchday ambassador.
"Liverpool have got some really class players like (Philippe) Coutinho, while Steven Gerrard is looking good this season," said the 71-year-old. "Liverpool's confidence is sky high at the moment. It's just a case of whether they can handle the pressure.
"The fans are desperate to get a Premier League title — it's been 20-odd years.
"They've started well, but at Liverpool you always take things a game at a time."
Swansea will also be in upbeat mood after securing a first Premier League win of the season at West Brom before the international break.
Callaghan still has friends in the city, and also retains an affection for the football club.
"I haven't seen that much of them this season," he added.
"I watched the game against Manchester United and it was pretty even until United went into the lead, then the goals started to go in. Swansea have done well since they've come up.
"I've got a great affiliation with Swansea, and I had some really enjoyable times there.
"They've got a fantastic manager and I think they'll stay up."