Over the past few weeks, the status of Joe Allen has become something of a mystery. Having started on the bench behind Jordan Henderson wasn't entirely surprising given the young Englishman's form and that Allen was returning from a long layoff following shoulder surgery, but then he disappeared from the teamsheet completely.
Having played in Liverpool's first League Cup match on August 27th against Notts County, Allen hasn't played or made the bench since, and wasn't seen with Wales over the international break. And all along, people have wondered just what injury might be afflicting the diminutive midfielder whose name has been conspicuously absent from each of Brendan Rodgers' squad status updates.
"We will see on Saturday if [Daniel Agger is] going to be available for selection but Joe Allen won't be available in the near future," said Rodgers when asked at his pre-Sunderland press conference to explain the Welshman's recent disappearance. What, exactly, Rodgers means by "near future" may be a little hazy, but one has to imagine Allen won't be playing again at least through the October international break.
"He was trying to work on the field with the rehab team but he had a tightness [in his thigh]," the manager added. "The news wasn't quite as good as we thought. He still has a strain in his hamstring and that recovery process is taking a bit longer than we thought."
With little information previously available, there had been some speculation and rumour mongering that suggested Allen might have done something to re-injure the shoulder he had to undergo surgery on last season. By that standard, at least, a moderate hamstring strain or tear that might keep him out a few months when everything's said and done is, perhaps, good news.
And at least it is news, which is something many fans have been waiting on for some time when it comes to Joe Allen and his mysterious absence from the matchday squad.