Joe Allen: Swansea City look even better than last season
JOE Allen returns to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday to face a Swansea City side which he believes could be better than the one he left to join Liverpool.
The Wales midfielder, who came through the youth ranks at Swansea, followed manager Brendan Rodgers to Anfield over the summer in a £15 million deal.
He lined up for the Reds in their 3-1 Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea last month, but this weekend's match will be his first time back at the Liberty to face the Swans.
Allen was an integral part of Swansea's impressive 11th-place finish in their debut Premier League campaign last season, and he thinks that achievement could be surpassed by the current crop.
"If you look at the quality in the squad and the quality they've added, they could at least match what they did last season, maybe even better it," he said.
"I had the privilege of playing with some great players at Swansea and, with the players they signed over the summer, they could be even better this season."
Michael Laudrup's Swansea side have been in excellent form recently, with the Capital One Cup victory over Liverpool kick-starting a four-game unbeaten run.
That sequence has included a draw against European champions Chelsea and an away win at Newcastle last weekend, and Allen has been impressed by what he has seen from the Swans.
"From a Liverpool point of view, Sunday's match will be tough," he said.
"Swansea look strong again this season. I know how difficult it will be playing at the Liberty.
"As there always is when a new manager comes in, they are a little bit different. But one thing that will always remain is that philosophy about the style of play at Swansea."
Allen has started all 12 of Liverpool's Premier League matches this season and, although he is relishing life on Merseyside, the 22-year-old admits there will be mixed emotions this weekend.
"It will be strange at first being an opposition player, I'm sure it will be a really alien feeling," he said.
"I watch Swansea whenever I can. As soon as I've finished a match with Liverpool, the Swans' result is the first I look for.
"But on Sunday I have to make sure that doesn't get in the way of my performance."