Liverpool head into their big match against Manchester United next weekend still searching for their first Premier League win, aiming to rubber-stamp the arrival of the Brendan Rodgers reign.
The manager has attempted to implement his own style of possession football, and while it has not properly clicked into gear yet, promising signs are there.
Integral to his plans, so it seems, is Joe Allen. The young Welshman was a key man in Rodger's Swansea side, and persuaded Liverpool's American owners to stump up £15 million for his services.
Allen is renowned for his passing skills yet the effectiveness of them was called into question by Alan Shearer on Match of the Day on Saturday night.
Shearer took the probing passing of Steven Gerrard as an example of the player Allen needs to emulate, who is constantly searching for opportunities to score goals.
With Liverpool 1-0 down and then at 1-1 searching for a winner, Shearer felt Allen was not displaying the necessary urgency with his passing.
He felt Allen was playing needless passes around non-dangerous areas, rather than helping the side push forward to gain a crucial equaliser or a winner.
But is he missing the point?
Allen was playing in defensive midfield on Saturday, filling in for the injured Lucas, and so naturally played a more conservative game than he normally would have done.
Allen is fulfilling the tactical plan of his boss, concentrating on keeping possession and wearing down the opposition. It seemed to work against Sunderland to a degree, while they missed out on scoring a winning goal, the final half an hour of the game was played more or less all in Sunderland's final third.
With Steven Gerrard alongside him in midfielder playing a more attacking role, Allen does not need to do the same. Gerrard's game has more of a 'risk factor' in terms of losing possession as he attempts to make more difficult passes.
The partnership of Allen-Gerrard offers a good balance and they both present different attributes and offerings to the table.
But in many ways as an observer it is easy to sympathise with Shearer's point of view. Allen and Brendan Rodger's game is very much a continental approach, one we are not used to seeing, as displayed by the possession statistics of the English national team.
England's team are not renowned for their patient passing, even described by others as a 'kick and rush' approach, and it is this frenetic pace which makes the Premier League so compelling.
It is also why some observers do not like watching Barcelona or Spain play, criticising them as 'boring', but their effectiveness cannot be denied. If Allen and Rodgers can emulate anywhere near their success Liverpool will be laughing.
It is impossible to please everybody, and Allen should stick to what he knows. When the draws and losses start turning into wins, the plaudits will come their way too.
What did you make of Shearer's comments? Justified or is he missing the point?
image: © ekilby