Joe Allen was surprised but understandably proud to be made Liverpool captain for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against West Ham.
Allen became Jurgen Klopp’s seventh captain since the German took over in mid-October – small recognition of the job the midfielder has done over the last few weeks.
“It came as a surprise to be honest,” said Allen, who was preferred over other senior players like defender Dejan Lovren and striker Christian Benteke, who led the side in their third-round opener at Exeter.
“It was only in the meeting before kick-off I was told. It’s a great feeling and I would have loved to have won, that would have made it extra special. It’s something to be proud of.
“It was a good performance. We are frustrated we didn’t win which shows you how well we did. We saw they came with a strong line-up and the last 10 or 15 we pushed hard but didn’t just have enough.
“We’ll just have to go down there and do it.”
Allen has enjoyed something of a resurgence in January, but the Wales international knows he has to maintain his standards if he wants to force his way into the starting line-up for Premier League matches and, indeed, his national team in France this summer.
“I would be lying if I said that (Euro 2016) was not at the back of my mind,” he said.
“There is enough time between now and then for more opportunities so I will keep the faith and hopefully go to the Euros in good nick.
“It’s been a tough season with the competition as fierce as ever so any opportunity comes along I’ve got to show what I can do and I hope the last few weeks can be a springboard to push my way, force my way, into the reckoning for more games.
“But my focus is on making sure I am ready. Sometimes if you are not playing you can take your foot off the pedal a bit and I’ve wanted to make sure that has not happened.
“I don’t want to get my chance and then blow it. It’s testing because everyone wants to play week in, week out, but we’ll see what comes of it.”