Although by this point it may seem a tad bit anticlimactic, the inevitable has finally been confirmed: Joe Allen will see out the remainder of the season recovering from his shoulder surgery.
Having withdrawn from the Wales squad ahead of this week's international matches, Allen is expected to go under the knife later this week. The Welshman's predicted recovery period of three months should see him back in time for pre-season training in July.
There's not much more to say that hasn't already been said more eloquently or articulately around these parts, other than that it's unfortunate that the player was either required or chose to play through the pain for half the season instead of addressing the old injury when it first flared up again. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and so we'll never know how Allen's debut season with the club may have gone if he'd had the surgery in October when his form began to dip.
Allen's injury lay-off is a particularly bitter pill to swallow in the context of how Brendan Rodgers might choose to fill in the gap left by the diminutive midfielder's absence. Despite doing all the right things both on and off the pitch, it remains to be seen whether or not Jordan Henderson will find a way back into the squad, even if these are not the preferred circumstances under which anyone would like to see him return to the starting eleven.
Regardless, the international break should provide lots of opportunity for Rodgers to assess his options heading into the away match to Aston Villa in two weeks' time. Correcting the poor selection choices made last Saturday is of the utmost priority, and his limited options may force the manager into making some choices he'd usually rather avoid.