Allen's Shoulder Was a Thumb Away from Breaking

Mike Hewitt

Liverpool's fitness update includes good news for Martin Kelly, as well as an update on the severity of Joe Allen's chronic shoulder injury that further confounds as to why exactly he'd been selected for so long.

Fresh off positive news about some of the squad's more vulnerable members injury-wise, Brendan Rodgers provided another fitness update, this time focused on those who haven't been quite as fortunate this season. Most notable was the news about Martin Kelly, who, as we learned last week, had been making significant progress, a fact that was underlined by Rodgers, who expects the fullback in training with the first-team again before the season's out. Still nothing concrete on Fabio Borini from the manager, but expectations haven't changed regarding his readiness for the 2013-2014 preseason, which will hopefully serve as the launching-off point for a more successful and healthy season for the young Italian in a Liverpool shirt.

Also included in Rodgers' update was the outcome of Joe Allen's shoulder surgery, which by all accounts went about as well as a surgery on a shoulder that was apparently near its breaking point for months:

"Joe has had his operation and it went well. It's interesting because when it was looked at, the surgeon said that if you touched it with your thumb you would have broken the shoulder. So that just shows you how flimsy it was and also how much pain he was in for a period of time. But thankfully that went well and he has started his rehabilitation."

I suppose this information couldn't have been available--at least the extent of the damage part--unless surgery was performed, but the rest of it causes more head scratching as to why exactly Joe Allen was even playing in the first place. A number of factors had been cited for his dip in form, all of which were plenty valid; having a child was sure to exhaust him mentally and physically, as was the banner he was tasked with carrying as the player most able to replicate the style of play that Brendan Rodgers demanded.

But if the injury was that bad, and he was in so much pain, why not acknowledge that and treat it as flimsy as it apparently was rather than perpetuate some sort of archaic tough-guy bullshit stereotype that not only caused further damage to the player but also the team as a whole?

I'd buy the notion that his spell on the sidelines during the winter months was a temporary solution of sorts, possibly meant to buy him time in hopes of seeing out the season. Again, though, if the pain was that bad prior to the point at which he became rightfully acquainted with the bench, it begs the question as to why surgery wasn't performed at that time.

Championing Joe Allen as tough and gritty and willing to play for the team through significant pain is fitting, I guess, but Brendan Rodgers' doing so doesn't make him look particularly good. Continually selecting a player so clearly struggling for form and--as we now know--fitness with better options available only further undermines the confounding decisions of a manager who's yet to find stable footing.

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