Joe Allen has spoke of his delight at Liverpool's excellent start to the season - and although he concedes it will be difficult to break into the side while they are playing so well, it is a challenge he relishes, according to Sky Sports.

Allen was purchased from Swansea City last season for £15m, following his old manager Brendan Rodgers' move to Merseyside.

He was initially praised for his ball retention ability, but injuries have hampered the Welshman's progress at Anfield.

With Steven Gerrard still performing at outstanding levels and major progress being shown by Jordan Henderson in the last few weeks, Allen concedes getting back into the Reds' starting XI will be difficult, but he remains optimistic that he can make an impact at some stage.

"It's a challenge you have to relish as a professional footballer. There's always competition and there's always someone out for the same spot as you," said Allen.

"It's been a great start to the season and we're playing really well, so that makes the competition even harder. The atmosphere is great. We're towards the top of the table and that's where we want to be. We know it's a massive competition up there and there are some very strong clubs."

Allen admitted it was great to get back to playing following his spell on the sidelines, having replaced the ever-influential Gerrard in the 86th minute of the Reds' 4-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

The victory kept Liverpool in the hunt at the top of the Premier League table, with Rogers' side currently just two points off top spot.

"It was great to be back out there. When you've been out with an injury, it's always nice to get back on the pitch and get back playing," he added.

"So to come back on in front of the home crowd at Anfield was great. It was my first appearance in the league for a long time, so hopefully I can get back to full fitness and look forward to making more appearances.

"I think when you've had a little bit of a lay-off, you miss a little bit of that sharpness and your match fitness is obviously a little bit down, but I'm working on that and I'm getting back to where I want to be".

Allen has played 40 times for Liverpool since his move from Swansea, scoring twice. He will hope for another opportunity this weekend, when the Reds make the trip to the Emirates Stadium to face top-of-the-table Arsenal.

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