Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen has admitted that he must improve his form in order to live up to his £14million price tag after a disappointing start to his Anfield career. 

The Wales international has struggled to adapt to life at Anfield and, despite being a favourite of manager Brendan Rodgers, in recent weeks has been forced to sit on the substitutes bench after the return of Lucas Leiva and the good form of Jordan Henderson.

Joe Allen
Joe Allen in action over the summer for Team GB [Reuters]

With Philippe Coutinho arriving from Inter Milan last month, there is yet more competition for places in the Liverpool midfield and Allen is aware that he will need to improve.

"Everyone knows my form hasn't been great. It's been disappointing not to have been involved in every game," Allen told The Sun. "But it's up to me now to work hard and get myself back in the team and improve my level of performance."

Rodgers was desperate to bring the 22-year-old to the club in the summer and it has been suggested that they paid over the odds, with former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson being particular critical of the price tag.

"Joe Allen is a decent footballer but I don't think anyone else would have paid the money that Liverpool did for him," Lawrenson said on Match of the Day.

His fellow pundit Alan Shearer has also criticised the performances of Allen but suggesting that he is too safe in possession and refuses to take risks.

Allen responded by saying: "They're top pundits. When Alan Shearer speaks, people listen.I want to improve all aspects of my game. I'm a perfectionist and maybe that's my problem - sometimes I get frustrated and disappointed when things aren't perfect.

"In terms of what Alan said, I can learn from it. But it's difficult because at the time I thought I was playing well."

Allen had been a regular in the Liverpool side at the start of the season but has not started any of the last three Premier League games as the club secured a 5-0 win over Norwich and two 2-2 draws with Arsenal and Manchester City.

However, he will have a chance to demonstrate his quality in a Wales shirt when they face Austria in a friendly on Wednesday evening and Allen believes there are similarities between his club and country.

"It's almost the story of the season. We've deserved more than we've got and Sunday's game at Manchester City was probably a prime example of that," said Allen.

"It's similar here. Both are positive and looking to the future and the biggest thing is everyone has that faith and belief that things will turn around for the better.

"I'd like to think the New Year is a fresh start for Wales. The results over the last few games haven't been as good as we'd hoped for. We're looking to improve."