Colin Pascoe believes Joe Allen has all the raw tools to thrive in an advanced role for Liverpool now that Lucas Leiva has returned from injury to bolster the midfield.
Lucas made an impressive return to action in Saturday's 1-0 win over Southampton - and Pascoe has given an insight into how the defensive steel the Brazilian brings back to the midfield will allow Allen to go forward and operate in a more natural, attacking position.
"Lucas is the holding pivot of the three in the midfield and his presence just releases Joe a little bit further forward," Pascoe explained to Liverpoolfc.com. "On Saturday you could see this in the way Joe was pushed up 10, 15 or 20 yards further forward.
"And I would say this [advanced position] is Joe's natural position because he likes to get forward. He can take players on, he's got a great shot and he can score goals. But if you ask him to play in the holding role, he'll do that as well.
"Around the penalty area, Joe can dribble, he can shoot and he can play in that more advanced position, knowing he has the security of Lucas behind him.
Lucas had battled back from an injury sustained after just four minutes of the first Barclays Premier League home game of the season in August to play almost 90 minutes against Southampton.
In doing so, the holding-midfielder made what was only his third league appearance since taking an initial knock against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in November 2011.
But the Brazilian looked far from ropey - he broke up the play, was tough in the tackle and played more passes than any other player on the park.
"He's had his ups and downs with the injuries but he's the type of lad who always has a smile on his face," said Pascoe. "And it was nice to see a smile on his face again on Saturday.
"The way he performed against Southampton was right up there with all the performances he has given before.
"I'm very pleased to see him back because we missed him dearly. For him to come back after working so hard on his recovery from injury is a testament to him as a professional. He looks after himself. His performance on Saturday was superb."
Pascoe was also keen to echo the sentiments of the manager, who heaped praise on Jose Enrique's recent efforts in the advanced left-wing role.
"Jose has got pace, strength and a great left foot," he said. "In recent games, he has played balls into Luis Suarez and he spun a couple of good passes down the channel for him against Southampton but, unfortunately, Luis couldn't get on the end of them.
"He's had his injuries as well and he's overcome them and worked hard on his fitness. The levels he has got himself to have been phenomenal. Jose's certainly a lad whose fitness is important to him.
"He produced again on Saturday and, like Brendan said, he was unplayable."
With the Reds needing to match Young Boys' result to progress in their final group game of the Europa League, Pascoe confirmed that a strong squad will make the journey to Italy for the clash against Udinese.
"It's an important game and we need to win it," he insisted. "So we will be taking a very strong squad. However, we will have to assess a few little niggles and injuries before we travel on Wednesday.
"We'll be going out there to win. Of course, there'll always be that little bit of caution - at the start you can't go all out. We have to anticipate how they play and understand what their system is and make sure that we create the chances at the right time.
"We have watched them and studied them and they are a good side. They are dangerous when it comes to counter-attacking and they play 3-5-2. They will be tough opposition.
"We were disappointed with the result at home because we thought we controlled the game. That's' something we need to do again - control the game. We need to manage the game better and hopefully we can get a better result."